Stats Insider: If Origin was a game of numbers

It appears everything is against the New South Wales Blues heading into this must-win Origin match. The judiciary, injuries, scandal and even a baby has come into the preparation, making an already tough job tougher. <br><br>But are the stats against the Blues also? <br><br>Let’s take a look at the match-ups – and declare a points winner on paper alone from this season’s NRL form…<br><br><b>Fullback: Billy Slater (Qld) v Jarryd Hayne (NSW)</b><br>Two superstars of the game with some recent bad blood make this a mouth-watering match-up. While Hayne is the reigning Dally M Medal winner it is Slater who gets the nod here. Hayne is making significantly more metres (177 v 93) a game and has one more try assist (8 v 7) but Slater has twice as many line-breaks (8 v 4), a few more line-break assists (10 v 8) and more tries (4 v 1). He also has a few more tackle busts (46 v 43). Both have 17 errors. <b>SCORE: Qld 1 – NSW 0.</b><br><br><b>Wingers: Israel Folau &amp; Darius Boyd (Qld) v Joel Monaghan &amp; Brett Morris (NSW)</b><br>Boyd plays on the left in Origin, making him match up against NSW right winger Monaghan. Considering Monaghan has played just three games this season it’s hard for him to take down Boyd, but even a full season probably wouldn’t have been enough. Monaghan has a 97-metre average and just one line-break while Boyd leads the Dally M Medal count thanks to great form: 145 metres a game, four line-breaks, 12 line-break assists, 74 tackle breaks and 11 try assists. <b>SCORE: Qld 2 – NSW 0.</b><br><br>Meanwhile Folau, a controversial pick, lines up against Morris. And in a close photo finish, Morris wins! NSW are on the board! Morris is averaging more metres (135 v 119) and has a few more line-breaks (12 v 10) and try assists (5 v 1). Folau almost snatched it with an extra try (13 v 12) and line-break assist (3 v 2) from fewer games. <b>SCORE: Qld 2 – NSW 1</b>.<br><br><b>Centres: Greg Inglis &amp; Willie Tonga (Qld) v Beau Scott &amp; Matt Cooper (NSW)</b><br>The Blues are on the ropes… Pow! It’s a double knockout here! Greg Inglis on the left comes up against Beau Scott; as good a defensive centre as he is, Scott will have a tough task containing ‘GI’. Inglis averages 88 metres to Scott’s 79 metres and has six line-breaks to Scott’s one. Inglis also has six tries this season, Scott has one. <b>SCORE: Qld 3 – NSW 1</b><br><br>Matt Cooper has been pretty good in recent weeks, but his numbers don’t overshadow Tonga this season. The Cowboys star leads the average metres (101 v 95) and has more line-breaks (11 v 7), line-break assists (5 v 3) and try assists (2 v 1). Both have eight tries. <b>SCORE: Qld 4 – NSW 1. </b><br><br><b>Five-Eighth: Darren Lockyer (Qld) v Trent Barrett (NSW)</b><br>The Queensland and Australian skipper takes down his Blues counterpart by being ahead in almost every aspect this season. Barrett averages one metre more running (49 v 48) but either ties or falls behind every other main stat: kick metres (286 v 193), line-breaks (4 v 4), line-break assists (9 v 5), tries (3 v 1) and try assists (10 v 4) numbers give the point to Lockyer. <b>SCORE: Qld 5 – NSW 1.</b><br><br><b>Halfback: Johnathan Thurston (Qld) v Mitchell Pearce (NSW)</b><br>The kid from NSW has certainly earned his place in the Origin arena, with his 2010 numbers just beneath the genius Thurston. In fact they’re close enough to steal a half point! While Pearce kicks further each game (279 metres v 208 metres) and has scored more tries (5 v 2) Thurston wins with his running metres (54 v 51), line-breaks (7 v 3) and try assists (10 v 9) numbers. <b>SCORE: Qld 5.5 - NSW 1.5</b><br><br><b>Locks: Ashley Harrison (Qld) v Paul Gallen (NSW)</b><br>The Blues enforcer is back – and not a moment too soon. Gallen wins this slot with a massive metre average over Harrison (167 v 82), more offloads (29 v 3) and a better effective tackle percentage (90.5 per cent v 88.2 per cent) in defence. <b>SCORE: Qld 5.5 – NSW 2.5 </b><br><br><b>Second Row: Nate Myles &amp; Sam Thaiday (Qld) v Ben Creagh &amp; Trent Waterhouse (NSW)</b><br>Myles on the right edge will be taking on the left-edge dwelling Creagh. With both players in great form, this one’s a tie. Myles is effective defensively a little less often (87.4 per cent v 88.2 per cent) but makes more metres (109 v 92). Creagh has three tries but Myles has a try assist. <b>SCORE: Qld 6 – NSW 3.<br></b><br>Meanwhile, Thaiday takes the round against Waterhouse, thanks to some blistering 2010 form. Waterhouse has 82 metres a match and an 86 per cent effective tackle percentage but while the Broncos powerhouse is a little less effective defensively (at 84.3 per cent) he is killing it in attack with 125 metres a game, four line-breaks, five line-break assists, two tries and five try assists. <b>SCORE: Qld 7 – NSW 3</b><br><br><b>Front Row: David Shillington &amp; Matthew Scott (Qld) v Michael Weyman &amp; Brett White (NSW)</b><br>The two pairs of props share the points, thanks to the fact the Queensland duo makes more metres (Shillington 117, Scott 120) than their NSW counterparts (White 95, Weyman 93) – but the Blues boys are better defensively. Shillington is effective just 76.2 per cent of the time, while Scott is better at 87.3 per cent. Weyman returns 90.2 per cent effectiveness and White is at 87.9 per cent. <b>SCORE: Qld 8 – NSW 4</b><br><b><br>Hookers: Cameron Smith (Qld) v Michael Ennis (NSW)</b><br>Despite having a few extra try assists (3 v 1) and an extra try (2 v 1) Ennis loses out here. Smith is better defensively (90.8 per cent effective v 82.1 per cent), makes more territory (53 metres v 24 metres) and kick metres (209 v 169) and has as many line-breaks and line-break assists from fewer games. (With only four points left on offer this is the clincher.) <b>SCORE: Qld 9 – NSW 4</b><br><br><b>Utility Back: Cooper Cronk (Qld) v Kurt Gidley (NSW)</b><br>Chalk up another point for the Queenslanders… Cronk is only behind Gidley on one major stat, metres gained (43 v 117). He kicks further (381 v 79), has an extra line-break (2 v 1), seven extra line-break assists (9 v 2) and nine more try assists (12 v 3). <b>SCORE: Qld 10 – NSW 4</b><br><br><b>Bench Forwards: Ben Hannant, Neville Costigan &amp; David Taylor (Qld) v Nathan Hindmarsh, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs &amp; Luke O’Donnell (NSW)</b><br>The Queensland trio makes 128, 56 and 97 metres a match respectively, while the Blues boys’ numbers read 88, 80 and 115 metres respectively, making their output as a collective similar. Hindmarsh is the best defensively but Taylor is a line-breaker and try scorer. We’ll score this one even, leaving the final <b>SCORE: Qld 11.5 – NSW 5.5</b><br><br>The upshot? Should they win tomorrow night, perhaps it really would be the greatest New South Wales victory of all time!