Stat snapshot: Dragons' key to success

Rugby League can be broken down and separated into simple ‘constructs’ or elements – and it’s this approach that has helped St George Illawarra to the equal competition lead heading into the draining Origin period.<br><br>It takes plenty of work to put together a successful team. You need size, you need speed, and you need smarts. But it doesn’t matter how good your side is if you can’t do the simple things right – and the simplest thing in rugby league is to control the ball.<br><br>It is no surprise to see St George Illawarra on top of a fundamental statistic, that of fewest errors. The Dragons produce an average of just 9.4 errors a game to lead the NRL – a massive contributing factor to their success.<br><br>Plenty of pundits are quick to lambast their attack, claiming the side will fail to go all the way unless they up the ante. There may be some truth in this, but as long as they minimise errors and therefore dominate possession, they will remain in the hunt of any match.<br><br>The Dragons have only lost one error count all season, in their loss to North Queensland, but the fact several stars were backing up 24 hours after representative football was a contributing factor.<br><br>The ‘strangling’ approach to football has ensured several victories, including last weekend against the Sharks and in close encounters like those against the Bulldogs and Warriors in recent weeks.<br><br>Also impressive is the fact the side’s halves or playmakers aren’t the major error contributors, which is often the case as teams try to make things happen or force the issue. Instead it is veteran winger Wendell Sailor who has the unwanted tag of most errors in the Dragons side – although most wingers wouldn’t be too worried about just 10 errors so far this season.<br><br>It is also no surprise to see the Broncos are second in fewest average errors per match. Another of the sides at the equal top of the competition ladder, the Broncos are only making 10.8 errors a match. <br><br>At the other end of the scale it is again no massive revelation to see the struggling Sharks producing the most errors of any NRL side. Cronulla can’t buy a win and the fact they constantly lose possession is the biggest reason why. The side is averaging 14.6 errors a match, easily the most by any side in the competition.<br><br>The Warriors (12.8 a match) and the Eels (12.9) are the other poor performers in the statistic and as expected they occupy lower rungs on the NRL ladder.<br><br>“Too many errors can certainly be crucial,” Warriors coach Ivan Cleary tells NRL.com. “You do have to have a closer look in to how those errors are coming about as if you are making errors while promoting the football that isn’t as bad as basic errors.<br><br>“But unfortunately for us it has been those types of basic errors that have crawled into our game and it can make life really difficult.”<br><br>Cleary admits it is a basic problem which needs a basic solution – i.e. concentrating a little harder – but with more errors comes erosion in belief, making it harder to right the wrongs.<br><br>“When you are making basic errors it can really take a toll on the confidence, making it a bit of a snowball effect. They are really a bit contagious at times which makes it hard. But you can only work hard to rectify it and take each game as it comes.” <br>&nbsp;<br><b>NRL Average Game Errors</b><br>1. Dragons (9.4); 2. Broncos (10.8); 3. Raiders (11.2); 4. Cowboys (11.8); 5. Tigers (11.9); 6. Titans (12); 7. Sea Eagles (12.1); 8. Roosters (12.4); 8. Bulldogs (12.4); 10. Knights (12.5); 11. Panthers (12.7); 11. Storm (12.7); 11. Rabbitohs (12.7); 14. Warriors (12.8); 15. Eels (12.9); 16. Sharks (14.6).<br><br><b>Your Club’s Most Error-Riddled</b><br>Brisbane: Peter Wallace (14); Raiders: Terry Campese (12); Dragons: Wendell Sailor (10); Cowboys: Matthew Bowen (17); Wests Tigers: Benji Marshall (14); Knights: Kurt Gidley (18); Bulldogs: Michael Ennis (16); Rabbitohs: Chris Sandow (16); Storm: Billy Slater (21); Panthers: Jarrod Sammut (15); Warriors: Joel Moon (15); Eels: Jarryd Hayne (20); Titans: Chris Walker (12); Sea Eagles: Matt Orford (16); Roosters: Mitchell Pearce (16); Sharks: Ben Pomeroy (16). <br>