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NRL Telstra Premiership 2009

Stats Insider: Origin III match-ups by the numbers

Benjamin Everill NRL.com Thu, Jun 30, 2011 - 9:50 AM

Slater v Minichiello: Who wins each of the individual battles for State of Origin III, according to the stats? Copyright: NRL Photos

It is still quite a few sleeps away but you can’t help but be pumped up for the Origin decider. Each team has had issues in the early lead-up: the war of words has begun across the borderlines… the conspiracy theorists are out… ahh, it’s all just brilliant! The Maroons gunning for a massive six straight titles; the Blues desperate to bring some pride back to New South Wales. It’s going to be an absolute ripper where no player will leave as much as a single breath in their tank. In Origin, heart and desire are as much a part of proceedings as skill. But those of you who read this column obviously love your numbers – so let’s break down the two starting sides, side by side, position against position, in terms of their NRL form this year to see who has the edge on raw data alone.

FULLBACK

Key Stats: Metres Gained, Line-breaks, Line-break Assists, Tries, Try Assists, Errors, Kick Defusal

Qld: Billy Slater – Not surprisingly, the long-time Queensland custodian scores well in raw numbers. He averages 140 metres, has 11 line-breaks, seven line-break assists, seven tries and seven try assists. His error count sits at 20 and he is successfully defusing 76 per cent of kicks directed his way.

NSW: Anthony Minichiello – After filling in so admirably in Game Two, veteran ‘Mini’ is raring to go in the decider even if his numbers don’t quite read like Billy The Kid’s. This season he averages 121 metres, has five line-breaks, two line-break assists, four tries, and two try assists. He is doing better in the last two key stats with just 18 errors and a kick defusal rate of 79 per cent.

Verdict: Queensland – Has the edge in almost all key stats.

Running Score: Qld 1, NSW 0.

WING

Key Stats: Metres Gained, Line-breaks, Tries, Errors, Kick Defusal

Qld: Darius Boyd & Jharal Yow Yeh – The numbers here are a bit misleading as Boyd is obviously playing out of position in Origin. As a fullback for the Dragons he is averaging 125 metres, has four line-breaks, six tries and 12 errors. His kick defusal is at an ultra-impressive 83 per cent. Yow Yeh has taken on representative football like an old pro rather than the rookie he is. His club stats reveal he’s averaging 93 metres and has tallied seven line-breaks, seven tries and 14 errors. His kick defusal is even better than Boyd’s at 85 per cent!

NSW: Akuila Uate & Jarryd Hayne – Uate has quickly developed into a Blues cult hero. His strong kick returns really get the crowd on their feet. So far this season he is averaging 142 metres gained, along with 10 line-breaks, seven tries and just eight errors. He is a little shakier with kicks compared to either of the Maroons’ duo but is still doing okay at 73 per cent defusal. Jarryd Hayne, like Boyd, plays fullback at club level. He is averaging 155 metres, has made two line-breaks, four tries, 29 errors and is successful defusing kicks 80 per cent of the time.

Verdict: A split decision. The stats give Boyd the edge over Hayne but Uate trumps Yow Yeh. (Boyd and Hayne’s try assists and line-break assists are impressive but not relevant to wing play).

Running Score: Qld 2, NSW 1.

CENTRE

Key Stats: Metres Gained, Line-breaks, Line-break Assists, Tries, Try Assists, Offloads, Errors, Effective Tackle Percentage

Qld: Greg Inglis & Justin Hodges – Both Queensland centres have had injury-interrupted seasons but we all know how classy they are. Inglis is averaging 91 metres at Souths. He has four line-breaks, three line-break assists, three tries and six try assists plus nine offloads. He has 10 errors and is sporting a nice 83.8 per cent effective tackle percentage. Hodges is tackling at 78.3 per cent, averages 126 metres and has three line-breaks, one line-break assist, one try and no try assists to date. He has added six offloads and made six errors.

NSW: Mark Gasnier & Michael Jennings – Gasnier needs a big performance if the Blues are to wrest the shield from north of the border. He is averaging 118 metres, has six line-breaks, nine line-break assists, four tries, six try assists, 30 offloads and just 15 errors. His defence has been rock solid at 87.8 per cent effective. Jennings is still to pass fitness but if he takes his place he will do so with 108 metres a game, three line-breaks, one line-break assist, one try and one try assist plus 15 offloads and 15 errors. His defence is 84 per cent effective.

Verdict: Another split decision – Gasnier gets the top spot but Jennings has been far from potent this year in club footy.

Running Score: Qld 3, NSW 2.

FIVE-EIGHTH

Key Stats: Line-breaks, Line-break Assists, Tries, Try Assists, Errors, Kick Metres, Effective Tackle Percentage

Qld: Darren Lockyer – The prince of Queensland finishes up his Origin career at home in a decider… just what the doctor ordered. In his farewell season in the NRL Locky has so far tallied two line-breaks, four line-break assists, two tries and 11 try assists with 10 offloads and 18 errors. He is averaging 287 metres a match from the boot and is tackling at 85.5 per cent effectiveness.

NSW: Jamie Soward – The Dragons’ pivot put a scare in many fans when he came off early in the clash against manly last Monday night. In his debut Origin series he has warmed to the task. In the NRL this season he has six line-breaks, two line-break assists, two tries and 13 try assists. He has added just four offloads but is running nicely, with just 11 errors. He is kicking an average 531 metres each week and defensively is is tackling at 79.6 per cent.

Verdict: Queensland – the two lead three key stats each and tie in another… Sorry Sowie, but the legend wins in a tie.

Running Score: Qld 4, NSW 2.

HALFBACK

Key Stats: Line-breaks, Line-break Assists, Tries, Try Assists, Errors, Kick Metres, Effective Tackle Percentage

Qld: Johnathan Thurston – The Queensland lynchpin comes into the decider in impressive form. He has 10 line-breaks, a massive 26 line-break assists, nine tries and a whopping 21 try assists in the NRL. He averages 252 metres from the boot but has a high error count with 28. Defensively he is on task 76.2 per cent of the time.

NSW: Mitchell Pearce – The Roosters’ No.7 would love to be sporting the same numbers as his opposite. Coinciding with the Roosters’ struggle, Pearce has just one line-break, nine line-break assists, two tries and eight try assists. He is kicking at 285 metres a week, has made 14 errors and is tackling at 81.1 per cent.

Verdict: Queensland – Pearce may be defending better and making fewer errors but Thurston is schooling him by the numbers this year.

Running Score: Qld 5, NSW 2.

LOCK

Key Stats: Metres Gained, Tackles, Line-break Assists, Try Assists, Offloads

Qld: Ashley Harrison – The Titans’ lock forward is busting out 105 metres and 44 tackles each week. He has a line-break assist but no try assists and adds 11 offloads.

NSW: Greg Bird – Harrison’s Titans team-mate is averaging 123 metres plus 20 tackles. He has three line-break assists and two try assists plus 15 offloads.

Verdict: New South Wales… just. Harrison is a tackling machine but Bird’s offensive output gives him a slight edge.

Running Score: Qld 5, NSW 3.

SECOND ROW

Key Stats: Metres Gained, Tackles, Line-break Assists, Try Assists, Offloads

Qld: Sam Thaiday & Nate Myles – Slammin’ Sam hasn’t been as damaging as in past seasons but he still holds his own. He averages 105 metres, has made three line-break assists, one try assist, nine offloads and adds 29.5 tackle a game. Myles is running 99 metres and adding 32.1 tackles. He has just one line-break assist and one try assist plus 10 offloads.

NSW: Ben Creagh & Beau Scott – Ben Creagh is another under an injury cloud but the Dragons’ star is a left-edge specialist. He averages 109 metres plus 24.9 tackles. Creagh has four line-break assists, a try assist and 29 offloads. His Dragons’ team-mate Scott averages 92 metres, has zero line-break assists, one try assist and just 10 offloads. He does add 30.3 tackles a game.

Verdict: One each way – Creagh’s numbers are the best but Scott can’t make it a clean sweep.

Running Score: Qld 6, NSW 4.

PROP

Key Stats: Metres Gained, Tackles, Offloads, Effective Tackle Percentage

Qld: Petero Civoniceva & Matt Scott – This pair dominated the first clash but were contained in Game Two. Which performance will they replicate? Civoniceva averages 136 metres, 21 tackles and has 19 offloads in 2011. He is defensively effective 87.5 per cent of the time. As for Scott, he’s notching 26 tackles a game at 89.4 per cent effectiveness. Offensively his numbers are 112 metres a game with 15 offloads.

NSW: Paul Gallen & Tim Mannah – Gallen is usually a lock but he was unbelievably good at prop in the second game, playing 80 minutes and pumping out more than 200 metres. In club footy he averages 26.8 tackles at 93.1 per cent effectiveness while running for 181 metres per game and adding 32 offloads. Mannah is making 27.2 tackles a match with a 93.9 per cent effectiveness rating. His offence provides 118 metres but he has just two offloads all season.

Verdict: A split decision. Gallen wins by the numbers hands down but Mannah just hasn’t done enough to give the Blues the total edge. He needs to add more offloads.

Running Score: Qld 7, NSW 5.

HOOKER

Key Stats: Tackles, Line-breaks, Line-break Assists, Tries, Try Assists, Kick Metres, Effective Tackle Percentage

Qld: Cameron Smith – Pretty tough to compete with the world’s best hooker… Smith has four line-breaks, four line-break assists, two tries, four try assists and is producing 143 metres each game from the boot. He adds a massive 44.7 tackles each week at an amazing 91.9 per cent effectiveness.

NSW: Michael Ennis – The Blues’ hooker is yet to register a line-break this season. He has four line-break assists, two tries and five try assists. He averages just 58 metres kicking but adds an impressive 42.5 tackles at 86.9 per cent effectiveness.

Verdict: Queensland – Smith is just red hot.

Final Score: Qld 8, NSW 5.

So there you have it – by the individual numbers Queensland have a distinct edge. For the record, the New South Wales bench looks statistically stronger – although it is unfair to match them up against each other directly, as they play different roles.  Even with a bench edge the Blues concede statistical supremacy to the Maroons.