Stats Insider: Chasing the elusive 'meat pie'

The disgust on Bulldogs prop Jarrad Hickey’s face last weekend said it all. The same could be said for Raiders bookend Scott Logan. As the red ‘No Try’ graphic spun up on the big screen it was like a piece of their heart had been ripped out.<br><br>These two big units have busted their butts throughout this season and yet still face the ignominy of ending the year without a single try. Consequently they face the traditional Mad Monday punishments – whether it be a ‘nudie’ run around their home stadium (calm down wowsers, it’s all done tastefully away from the public eye) or perhaps wearing a most unflattering costume for a day, or one of countless other embarrassments their team-mates will concoct.<br><br>You see, for every Brett Morris (19 tries in 19 games) or Taniela Tuiaki (21 tries in 21 games) there is a Nathan Cayless or Dan Hunt. These are players who, through no lack of trying, just can’t seem to get themselves across the stripe for a big ‘meat pie’.<br><br>And with the rounds ticking down you might just see a few individuals chance their hands a little more – particularly from those teams already settled in or well outside the finals zone.<br><br>At the end of Round 23, around 130 players who have played first grade this season have failed to score a try, with some clubs like the Roosters having as many as 13 individuals still sitting on the proverbial duck egg.<br><br>At the other end of the scale, Manly have just one player striving to break the drought – don’t be surprised to see Heath L’Estrange take some cracks at the try line if he gets the chance in the coming matches, as he is the only Sea Eagle to be under the pump to score having gone 17 games without crossing.<br><br>Injury has cruelled some players’ chances of getting on the board. Guys like Mark O’Meley, Sika Manu and Ben Cross have already been assigned a place in the doghouse come the end-of-season celebrations. <br><br>However for those three, and others like them, there was ample opportunity to get a four pointer. But spare a thought for the young rookies like Brisbane’s Gerard Beale or Titan Kayne Lawton who are amongst several players who have only had the one crack at the NRL yet still join the list of players to go without the small glory of scoring a try. <br><br>Others who can count themselves harshly done by include Sharks fullback Brett Kearney who suffered a season-ending injury in the opening round! And what about new Dragon Nathan Fien? He scored in Warriors colours but his mid-season trade has him back on the doughnut in the Red V jersey.<br><br>For some, the heartbreak of not scoring in a season is about to repeat itself. Bulldog Chris Armit went 18 games in 2008 without a try and is still without one after 19 games this year. Scott Logan was none from 18 games last year and still try-less from 13 games in 2009. Nathan Cayless went 23 games without a try in 2008 and now it’s 19 and counting so far this year. Bryce Gibbs was none from 17 in 2008, none from 20 in 2009… the list goes on.<br><br>In fact, if we examine the worst try-scoring strike rates of all active players with at least 15 games to their name, we find there are 15 players who are yet to even get their maiden four-pointer.<br><br>The saddest victim on this list is injured Knight Ben Cross who has now played 72 NRL matches without scoring at all. Garrett Crossman (61 games) and Bryan Norrie (60 games) are the next on the list which is finished off by fringe Parramatta first grader Brendan Oake who has played 16 games without a try. (See the other players without tries below.)<br><br>While Cross, Norrie and the like may not have scored at all, others like Frank Puletua have also struggled over even longer periods. The Panthers forward has now played 165 games for just four tries, a strike rate of 0.02. Meanwhile Gibbs and Armit are at 0.03 thanks to three tries in 111 and 122 games respectively. <br><br>If you go to the 200-plus gamers you get to Rabbitohs prop Luke Stuart, who has 11 tries in 217 games for a strike rate of 0.05 and John Skandalis at 0.08 with 19 tries in 242 games. And 312-game veteran Steve Price has scored 35 career tries for a 0.11 strike rate.<br><br>Obviously the players listed below will be at long odds to score the first or last try in a match – but maybe, just maybe, over these last few weeks they might be worth a flutter. Their motivation to cross the stripe could just be reaching desperation stakes!<br><br><b>Players Without Tries In 2009</b><br><br><b>BRISBANE</b><br>Aaron Gorrell – 12 games; Palmer Wapau – 5 games; PJ Marsh – 5 games; G Williams – 5 games; Tonie Carroll – 5 games; Ben Hunt – 2 games; Gerard Beale – 1 game; D Hala – 1 game.<br><b><br>BULLDOGS</b><br>Chris Armit – 19 games; Yileen Gordon – 17 games; Jarrad Hickey – 11 games; Daniel Holdsworth – 10 games; Brad Morrin – 7 games; Jon Kite – 5 games; Matt Utai – 5 games; Lee Te Maari – 3 games; Charlie Leaeno – 1 game; Tim Winitana – 1 game.<br><b><br>CANBERRA</b><br>Glen Buttriss – 14 games; Scott Logan – 13 games; David Shillington – 13 games; Glen Turner – 7 games; Shaun Fensom – 2 games; Brett Kelly – 2 games.<br><br><b>CRONULLA</b><br>Luke Douglas – 21 games; Corey Hughes – 18 games; Terence Seu Seu – 15 games; John Mannah – 12 games; Bryan Norrie – 11 games; Scott Porter – 11 games; Atelea Vea – 7 games; Jack Afamasaga – 7 games; Tony Caine – 6 games; Jacob Selmes – 5 games; Misi Taulapapa – 5 games; Bronx Goodwin – 4 games; Ian Donnelly – 4 games; Brett Kearney – 1 game; Ben Ross – 1 game; Tim Weyman – 1 game; Lancen Joudo – 1 game.<br><b><br>GOLD COAST</b><br>Josh Graham – 12 games; Will Matthews – 12 games; Sam Tagataese – 4 games; Jordan Atkins – 4 games; Daniel Conn – 4 games; Bodene Thompson – 3 games; Selasi Berdie – 1 game; Kayne Lawton – 1 game.<br><b><br>MANLY</b><br>Heath L’Estrange – 17 games<br><br><b>MELBOURNE</b><br>Dallas Johnson – 18 games; Scott Anderson – 14 games; Sika Manu – 10 games; James Maloney – 4 games; Hep Cahill – 2 games; Willie Isa – 2 games; Luke Kelly – 1 game.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br><br><b>NEWCASTLE</b><br>Marvin Karawana – 17 games; Ben Cross – 7 games; George Ndaira – 5 games; Tim Natusch – 3 games; Cameron Ciraldo – 2 games; Dan Tolar – 1 game.<br><br><b>NORTH QUEENSLAND</b><br>Grant Rovelli – 11 games; Manase Manuokafoa – 9 games; Ben Harris – 8 games; Clint Amos – 4 games; Dayne Weston – 2 games; Donald Malone – 1 game.<br><b><br>PARRAMATTA</b><br>Tim Mannah – 21 games; Nathan Cayless – 19 games; Ben Smith – 16 games; Broderick Wright – 11 games; Kris Keating – 9 games; Jeremy Latimore – 7 games; Brendan Oake – 4 games; Jonathan Wright – 2 games;&nbsp; T Lasalo – 1 game.<br><b><br>PENRITH</b><br>Matthew Bell – 20 games; Petero Civoniceva – 12 games; Maurice Blair – 12 games; Adam Woolnough – 6 games; Joel Romelo – 3 games; Andrew Emelio – 1 game; Ben McFadgen – 1 game; Sam McKendry – 1 game.<br><b><br>SOUTH SYDNEY</b><br>Shannon McPherson – 18 games; Ben Lowe – 13 games; Scott Geddes – 13 games; Jaiman Lowe – 11 games; Beau Falloon – 4 games; Shaun Corrigan – 4 games; Garrett Crossman – 2 games.<br><b><br>ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA</b><br>Dan Hunt – 21 games; Dean Young – 21 games; Luke Priddis – 10 games; Mathew Head – 10 games; Mickey Paea – 6 games; Nathan Fien – 5 games; Trent Merrin – 3 games; Ricky Thorby – 1 game.<br><br><b>SYDNEY ROOSTERS</b><br>Frank Paul Nuuausala – 21 games; Lopini Paea – 21 games; Nate Myles – 14 games; Mark O’Meley – 11 games;&nbsp; James Aubusson – 9 games; Nick Kouparitsas – 8 games; Sisa Waqa – 6 games; Rohan Ahern – 4 games; Sonny Tuigamala – 4 games; Riley Brown – 3 games; Sandor Earl – 3 games; M Kennedy – 2 games;&nbsp; Ray Moujalli – 1 game.<br><b><br>WARRIORS</b><br>Jacob Lillyman – 21 games; Sam Rapira – 20 games; Ian Henderson – 19 games; Ben Matulino – 17 games; Aaron Heremaia – 8 games; Isaac John – 3 games; Evarn Tuimavave – 3 games;&nbsp; Leeson Ah Mau – 2 games;&nbsp; Siuatonga Likiliki – 1 game; Daniel O’Regan – 1 game. <br><br><b>WESTS TIGERS</b><br>Bryce Gibbs – 20 games; Gareth Ellis – 19 games; Danny Galea – 17 games; Chris Heighington – 15 games; Daine Laurie – 10 games; Rocky Trimarchi – 5 games; Alan Schirnack – 4 games; Simon Dwyer – 2 games; Robert Lui – 1 game.<br><br><b>Active Players With Zero Career Tries * </b><br>Ben Cross (Knights): 72 games; 2. Garrett Crossman (Rabbitohs): 61 games; 3. Bryan Norrie (Sharks): 60 games; 4. Clint Amos (Cowboys): 31 games; 5. Glen Buttriss (Raiders): 29 games; 6. Scott Anderson (Storm): 23 games; 7. Ian Lacey (Titans): 23 games; 8. George Ndaira (Knights): 22 games; 9. Will Matthews (Titans): 21 games; 10. Tim Mannah (Eels): 21 games; 11. Gareth Ellis (Tigers): 19 games; 12. Jacob Selmes (Sharks): 18 games; 13. Junior Paulo (Panthers): 18 games; 14. Tony Caine (Sharks): 16 games; 15. Brendan Oake (Eels): 15 games.<br>* 15 games minimum