Stats Insider: Masters of the long-range try

Whether it’s Lote, ‘B Moz’ or Izzy, we all love seeing star players streaking towards to try line from long range.<br>&nbsp;<br>Plenty of things in rugby league are exciting but tries from inside your own half always extract a higher decibel level from the stands because they invariably showcase speed and skill. They are also rare and unexpected.<br><br>Not far off from the season’s halfway point, it’s the somewhat under-siege Wests Tigers who are the long-range kings, living up to their reputation of being an attacking, showcase side. <br><br>The Tigers aren’t afraid to push the envelope from distance, scoring 10 tries from their own half in just 10 games, supplying their fans with plenty of thrills. <br><br>With the likes of Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah calling the shots in the playmaking department and Lote Tuqiri and Chris Lawrence knowing their way to space and the try line, the 2005 premiers have the strike power to make the finals for the first time since their premiership season. <br><br>When it comes to this statistic the club is well ahead of every other NRL side, with the Dragons, Panthers and Broncos coming in equal second with six long-range efforts so far in 2010.<br><br>The Roosters, Warriors and Storm come next with five tries from 51 or more metres.<br><br>But Canberra, who managed to get back in the premiership hunt with a win last weekend, are the least potent from distance. Considering just two seasons ago they were the best in the league at scoring from long range – scoring well more than one a match – the fact they have just one long-range effort is rather surprising. <br><br>With just three long four-pointers the Bulldogs, Sharks, Titans, Sea Eagles and Rabbitohs also prefer to play field-position football, rather than risk error inside their own half. <br><br>“You have to be prepared to attack from a little way out and it suits our style of footy to do so with guys like Lote Tuqiri, Chris Lawrence, Blake Asyhford, Beau Ryan and Tim Moltzen before he was injured,” Wests Tigers assistant coach Royce Simmons tells NRL.com. <br><br>“All of those boys are pretty quick… so if we make a break from 60 or 70 metres out we have the speed, the ability and we have the support players to finish it off. When we are playing our best footy, we all push up around the ball well and scoring from long range becomes an option.”<br><br>While Simmons and the rest of the Tigers staff are happy with the side’s potency, they admit some of the Tigers’ long-range attack comes out of necessity due to injuries in the forward pack and they also acknowledge the need to find the right balance of when to employ the tactic. <br><br>“We have had some injuries to our big men with Jason Cayless, Todd Payten, Keith Galloway out at times and if you don’t have them to punch you up the field you are forced to go to the edges a little bit,” Simmons admits. <br><br>“You obviously don’t want to have a lot of errors in your own half – or anywhere for that matter, as if you make too many tackles in a game all you have the energy for in attack is getting some wind back into your lungs. <br><br>“Ball control is crucial so it’s a fine balance. If you get too confident or go looking for a soft win by shifting from one side of the park to the other side over and over again, you’ll find yourself running away from the likes of Robbie Farah and keeping his direct attack out of the game. <br><br>“But when you do it selectively, and do it direct, you can get good results.”<br><br>Perhaps more importantly is a team’s ability to stop opposition sides breaking through from long range; in this instance it is the table-topping Dragons who once again lead the way. <br><br>With their defence known as the best in the competition (it currently gives up just 11 points a match), it comes as little surprise to see St George Illawarra atop the list of teams stopping long-range tries. <br><br>What might be a little surprising is just how good the Dragons have been. They are yet to let in a single try from over halfway – and the side hasn’t even had a bye yet.<br><br>The Storm are next best, allowing just one long-range ‘meat pie’ past them, with the Wests Tigers next with two conceded. <br><br>“It’s the best place to tackle, isn’t it?” Simmons observes wryly. <br><br>“You can attack the ball carrier down that end of the field, whereas when you are up defending your line it’s more risky to do so. Plus, big guys are much easier to contend with 90 metres from your try line than five metres out!”<br><br>Brisbane unravel their good work scoring from distance by conceding a mammoth nine tries from over halfway, to be the worst defensive team in this category. <br><br>Once again Canberra struggles in this department, leaking seven tries.<br><br><b>Tries Scored From Over Halfway</b><br>10: Wests Tigers<br>6: Dragons, Broncos, Panthers<br>5: Roosters, Warriors, Storm<br>4: Knights, Cowboys, Eels<br>3: Bulldogs, Sharks, Titans, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs<br>1: Raiders<br><b><br>Tries Conceded From Over Halfway</b><br>0: Dragons<br>1: Storm<br>2: Wests Tigers<br>3: Titans, Eels<br>4: Sea Eagles, Knights, Rabbitohs, Warriors<br>5: Sharks<br>6: Cowboys, Panthers, Roosters<br>7: Raiders, Bulldogs<br>9: Broncos <br>