Rugby league wingers have come a long way in the last thirty years. Gone are the days of diminutive speedsters who did little more than take the odd pressure-relieving run.
The match between the Storm and Roosters copped a bit of criticism, primarily for the wrestling tactics of the Storm.
But was it all about wrestling, or could the minor premiers have improved an aspect of their own game?
Here are the stats that let the Roosters down last week.
Completions: Season average of 78% – last week 83%
Run metres per game: Season average 1550 – last week 1469
Tackle Busts from forwards: Season average 15.34 – last week 10
Offloads: Season average 10.45 – last week 5
Average penalties per game: 6.83 – last week 4
Trent Robinson was critical of referees not blowing penalties. This could potentially have had an impact on the Roosters’ forwards average run metres per hit up.
First is the average metres per hit up for the season/average last week
Kane Evans – 13.16/10.83
Dylan Napa – 12.01/11.55
Sam Moa – 11.69/8.25
Sia Takeiaho – 11.47/9.68
Issac Liu – 10.86/9.0
Boyd Cordner – 10.05/9.46
Aidan Guerra – 9.345/5.67
Clearly each member of the Roosters forward pack was below their average for the season. Also the Storm forwards virtually ran one out a lot and made the Roosters two most influential go forward men – Sam Moa and Dylan Napa – engage in more defence.
Average tackles per game/tackles Last week
Dylan Napa – 28/35 – 7 more than average
Sam Moa – 23/32 – 9 more than average
Did the extra defence affect their go forward?
While playing one out allowed the Storm forwards to get numbers into the tackle, it can be argued that the Roosters most effective forward runs are also from one out runs. Sam Moa, Dylan Napa and Siua Taukeiaho’s most productive runs are when then run at full tilt into the defence. Taukeiaho’s leg speed is second to none, so the Roosters are expected to stick to that ploy, but possibly run even harder this weekend.
Not only did the Storm succeed in slowing down the ruck but they slowed down the play in a significant way especially in the second half.
Number of time Storm kicked the ball out in second half: 4 (2x Cronk, 1x Smith, 1x Green)
Approximate Time the ball was out of play or the game was halted in second half: 14 minutes
Other notable mentions
– Storm scored in the first 20 minutes – Roosters had only conceded 1 try in last 8 weeks in opening 20.
– The Roosters’ strong time zone is 21-40mins – where they’ve scored 30 tries. The Storm held the Roosters tryless in that period
– Storm second half completion was 100 per cent
– Roger Tuivasa-Sheck all run metres last week was the lowest in last nine weeks.
– With the Storm finding touch 4 times in the second half, it ensured one of the greatest Roosters strengths of beginning the set with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck run followed by one from Shaun Kenny-Dowell or Daniel Tupuo. (Note Roosters back 5 are the only ones in the competition this year to accumulate over 2000 meters)
For the Dogs Fan worth nothing the Roosters record in close matches (6 points or less) in 8 matches Roosters have won 3 and Lost 5.
Trent Robinson can blame the referees and the Storm’s wrestling style, but going by the stats their forwards just need to run a lot harder this week.