Stats Insider: Our 'How To' guide to Premiership glory

Justin Hodges plays on the right edge for the Broncos, Bryson Goodwin and Josh Morris play on the left edge and sideline for the Bulldogs and Frank Pritchard attacks predominantly on the left edge for the Panthers… so it’s no wonder their sides score most of their tries in these respective parts of the field.<br><br>When you divide a rugby league field length-ways into five sections – left sideline, left edge, centre, right edge and right sideline – you can get an accurate reading of just where each side likes to attack and where they have the most success scoring tries. <br><br>If you are aware of another team’s penchant to go through the middle or to the right sideline then you can strengthen your defence in these areas and force them to attack through weaker avenues.<br><br>Conversely, you can also see where their opposition scores tries against them, giving you a great chance to exploit their weaknesses. And knowing just where to attack an opponent’s weak section becomes even more paramount in the finals. <br><br>So with seven sides cemented in and two more fighting for the last spot now’s an opportune time to expose just where each of the sides still in contention for the 2009 premiership can be manipulated:<br><br><b>BRONCOS</b><br>The Broncos have been sound in defence in recent weeks however they have still conceded 98 tries this year, the second most in the NRL. They have been equally as weak on both edges and up the middle, which should see teams try to play up-tempo on them through the ruck before using ruck plays and inside balls to catch out tired forwards defending on the edges. Getting at players like Darren Lockyer and Justin Hodges is potentially beneficial as the pair are known for missed tackles.<br><br>In attack you can expect the Broncos to focus on heading right towards Hodges. The Brisbane right-side attack was even stronger when Israel Folau teamed with Hodges but even with Folau playing on the left the Broncos will go right across the ground and left in the air. Hodges loves getting outside his opponent before using his very strong right-foot step to cut back inside their attempted tackles. The Broncos haven’t had much success scoring up the middle so a team may be able to afford a slightly spread defensive line to combat the edge attacks.<br><br>TRIES SCORED: Left Sideline – 19 (21.6 per cent); Left Edge – 19 (21.6 per cent); Centre – 7 (8.0 per cent); Right Edge – 29 (33 per cent); Right Sideline – 14 (15.9 per cent)<br><br>TRIES CONCEDED: Left Sideline – 18 (18.3 per cent); Left Edge – 23 (23.5 per cent); Centre – 23 (23.5 per cent); Right Edge – 23 (23.5 per cent); Right Sideline – 11 (11.2 per cent)<br><br><b>BULLDOGS</b><br>It has all been about the left side of the field for the Bulldogs, with 53 of their 96 tries scored there. The edge/sideline combination of Josh Morris and Bryson Goodwin has netted 38 tries – 19 apiece – so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see they will be heading this way in the finals. The acceleration of both players is a real weapon so it will be important to shore up numbers on the right side in defence (left side attack plays against right-side defence) and to make sure the decision-making time of the individuals is limited.<br><br>The Bulldogs have conceded 70 tries, third fewest in the competition, with their weakest area being a tie between the centre and right edge. As with the Broncos, the trick against the Bulldogs might be just spearing in through the centre, forcing big boppers like Jarrad Hickey to make tackle upon tackle. The now-injured Brett Kimmorley was another player to spot in defence but now the focus might be to go at Michael Ennis. Ennis will likely have an increased role in attack and his defence isn’t as strong as some other hookers, so tiring him out defensively might be the smart move. <br><br>TRIES SCORED: Left Sideline – 28 (29.2 per cent); Left Edge – 25 (26 per cent); Centre – 14 (14.6 per cent); Right Edge – 20 (20.8 per cent); Right Sideline – 9 (9.4 per cent)<br><br>TRIES CONCEDED: Left Sideline – 7 (10 per cent); Left Edge – 17 (24.3 per cent); Centre – 18 (25.7 per cent); Right Edge – 18 (25.7 per cent); Right Sideline – 10 (14.3 per cent)<br><br><b>TITANS</b><br>Like Brisbane, the Gold Coast have scored 88 tries so far – but the Titans have focused on the centre of the field, having scored more tries up the middle than any other side. They do this by playing the type of game already suggested to take on likes of Brisbane and the Bulldogs – an up-tempo attacking game through the ruck with quick play-the-balls. Scott Prince and Preston Campbell find gaps around tiring forwards better than most in the competition and the stats prove it. <br><br>Defensively the Titans have conceded just 78 tries – but there is a worry with the amount of tries scored against them on the left sideline. With the left edge percentage also high you can expect teams playing the Titans to send their attack left. John Cartwright needs his right-side defenders to lift their defensive game.<br><br>TRIES SCORED: Left Sideline – 11 (12.5 per cent); Left Edge – 19 (21.6 per cent); Centre – 28 (31.8 per cent); Right Edge – 17 (19.3 per cent); Right Sideline – 13 (14.8 per cent) <br><br>TRIES CONCEDED: Left Sideline – 19 (24.4 per cent); Left Edge – 18 (23.1 per cent); Centre – 14 (17.9 per cent); Right Edge – 16 (20.5 per cent); Right Sideline – 11 (14.1 per cent)<br><br><b>SEA EAGLES</b><br>The reigning premiers have success attacking all over the park and have scored 90 tries this year. They are the second best of the sides remaining for scoring tries up the middle but the reality is the Sea Eagles can’t really be pigeon-holed – so sides need to be strong across the park against them. But compressing in the middle is a good start, forcing them to try to go around defenders.<br><br>The Manly defence has conceded 80 tries but has been very strong in the middle, despite showing weaknesses with other teams having success on the right edge and left sideline. Going to the left flank seems to be the best bet when playing against Manly as their wide right-side defenders can have problems with decision-making. <br><br>TRIES SCORED: Left Sideline – 13 (14.4 per cent); Left Edge – 18 (20 per cent); Centre – 23 (25.6 per cent); Right Edge – 23 (25.6 per cent); Right Sideline – 13 (14.4 per cent)<br><br>TRIES CONCEDED: Left Sideline – 22 (27.5 per cent); Left Edge – 17 (21.3 per cent); Centre – 8 (10 per cent); Right Edge – 20 (25 per cent); Right Sideline – 13 (16.2 per cent)<br><b><br>STORM</b><br>Last year’s runners-up can take you on in any part of the field, much like Manly. They have had some success up the middle and on the edges and also plenty of punch on the sidelines with 86 tries so far. However Greg Inglis on the left edge still remains the strongest option for their attack – but knowing this and stopping him are very difficult. <br><br>Taking Melbourne on the best bet is to head right, engaging the Storm’s left-side defenders. While the team has been the second best in the NRL with just 60 tries conceded they do have a recognisable difference in terms of which side is stronger than the other. Only 16 tries have been scored going left compared to 35 going right… simple equation really: go right. <br><br>TRIES SCORED: Left Sideline – 13 (15.1 per cent); Left Edge – 22 (25.6 per cent); Centre – 18 (20.9 per cent); Right Edge – 16 (18.6 per cent); Right Sideline – 17 (19.8 per cent) <br><br>TRIES CONCEDED: Left Sideline – 12 (20 per cent); Left Edge – 4 (6.7 per cent); Centre – 9 (15 per cent); Right Edge – 17 (28.3 per cent); Right Sideline – 18 (30 per cent)<br><br><b>KNIGHTS</b><br>Newcastle have also been a balanced side in attack, showing an ability to score across the park with 79 tries evenly spread. They are another side with some success up the centre so compressing a defence could bring dividends. <br><br>The Knights have conceded 86 tries but once again there is no significant weak spot. Teams have had success in all areas. If anything they do have a higher number of tries scored against them up the middle than most teams, so a ruck-focused attack could work.<br><br>TRIES SCORED: Left Sideline – 11 (13.9 per cent); Left Edge – 16 (20.3 per cent); Centre – 22 (27.8 per cent); Right Edge – 20 (25.3 per cent); Right Sideline – 10 (12.7 per cent)<br><br>TRIES CONCEDED: Left Sideline – 12 (14 per cent); Left Edge – 19 (22.1 per cent); Centre – 21 (24.4 per cent); Right Edge – 18 (20.9 per cent); Right Sideline – 16 (18.6 per cent)<br><br><b>EELS</b><br>The storming Eels have found their way into the finals after scoring 83 tries so far this season and while one might say their attacking focus is Jarryd Hayne and wherever he pops up they have shown strength in going at the edges. The Eels love going hard at the opposition edge and have had success doing so. <br><br>The Parramatta defence in recent times has been brilliant but their season numbers show 76 tries conceded. It appears the way through the Eels isn’t obvious – although in the past getting around them has been a go-to option as their wingers have been known to make the odd wrong decision defensively. <br><br>TRIES SCORED: Left Sideline – 10 (12 per cent); Left Edge – 21 (25.3per cent); Centre – 15 (18.1 per cent); Right Edge – 21 (25.3 per cent); Right Sideline – 16 (19.3 per cent)<br><br>TRIES CONCEDED: Left Sideline – 17 (22.4 per cent); Left Edge – 19 (25 per cent); Centre – 14 (18.4 per cent); Right Edge – 12 (15.8 per cent); Right Sideline – 14 (18.4 per cent)<br><br><b>PANTHERS</b><br>The Panthers make no secret of their lean towards attacking to Frank Pritchard and the left edge but they also like to go to the right and look for Trent Waterhouse. The Panthers rarely get the ball all the way to the wings, with the centres being the men charged with going through out wide, so jamming in hard on the edges and on the likes of Michael Jennings will contain Penrith. <br><br>Defensively the Panthers are victims on the edges. They cannot seem to read opposition attack and constantly pay the price. Heading to the fringes – either is fine – will yield points.<br><br>TRIES SCORED: Left Sideline – 10 (11.6 per cent); Left Edge – 30 (34.9 per cent); Centre – 17 (19.8 per cent); Right Edge – 22 (26.5 per cent); Right Sideline – 7 (8.2 per cent) <br><br>TRIES CONCEDED: Left Sideline – 13 (13.7 per cent); Left Edge – 26 (27.4 per cent); Centre – 15 (15.8 per cent); Right Edge – 30 (31.6 per cent); Right Sideline – 11 (11.5 per cent)<br><br><b>DRAGONS</b><br>St George Illawarra have scored 86 tries and do like to go through the middle before looking to the edges. Ben Creagh hunts on the left side, as does Brett Morris, so paying attention to this pair is important. <br><br>Defensively, despite the dismal past three weeks, the Dragons are still number one with 56 tries conceded. In picking a side to attack it should be left, as the right-side defenders have shown the odd lapse in concentration. Big Wendell Sailor comes off his wing every now and then and can be caught out.<br><br>TRIES SCORED: Left Sideline – 15 (17.3 per cent); Left Edge – 20 (23.3 per cent); Centre – 20 (23.3 per cent); Right Edge – 12 (14 per cent); Right Sideline – 19 (22.1 per cent)<br><br>TRIES CONCEDED: Left Sideline – 10 (17.9 per cent); Left Edge – 15 (26.8 per cent); Centre – 15 (26.8 per cent); Right Edge – 7 (12.5 per cent); Right Sideline – 9 (16 per cent)