By the Numbers: Rep Round
Johnson rediscovers his best, the great age debate, NSW halves alternatives emerge, and McGuire's incredible motor. These are the key numbers and statistics that defined the 2015 Representative Round.
Kiwi halfback Shaun Johnson lit up Suncorp Stadium in the Anzac Test, with 135 metres, four tackle busts, 24 tackles, a try, line break, offload, and 470 kick metres. You would've been pleased if you'd included the 2014 Golden Boot winner in your Test Match Fantasy squad, with Johnson recording a game-high 96 points. Those with Johnson in their NRL Fantasy side will be hoping his form on the international stage translates to further success at club level.
Much has been made of the age of the Kangaroos squad, with many pointing to the lack of rejuvenation in the side as the reason for their recent struggles against New Zealand. Six of the 17 to represent Australia in Sunday's Anzac Test were aged 30 or over, while the entire New Zealand squad were 29 or younger. Interestingly, the average age of the Australian squad was just under 28, while the Kiwis were slightly below 26. The median age? 26 for the Four Nations champions, 29 for the Aussies. While the numbers point to Australia's squad being far more experienced, the gap in age between the two sides might not be as pronounced as many have claimed.
As the debate surrounding the NSW halves pairing rages on, Country captain James Maloney pressed his claim for an Origin recall, laying on three try assists, two line-break assists and kicking for 419 metres in the annual Country-City clash. Blake Austin is only just starting to establish himself as a five-eighth at the Raiders, but the City No.7 scored three tries and had three tackle busts, an offload and line break in a performance which is sure to have captured the attention of Blues coach Laurie Daley.
Fiji possess some of the most exciting wingers in the game, and against PNG Marika Koroibete (211m) and Eto Nabuli (236m) combined for an impressive 447 run metres. Bati lock Korbin Sims ran for 153 metres and 41 tackles in an 80 minute performance that has propelled the Newcastle prop into the Origin frame. In the same game, PNG front-rower Stanton Albert also made an impression with a try, 133 metres, a line break, and eight tackle busts in 38 minutes on the field.
He might play at prop for the Broncos, but in the second Pacific Test on Saturday night Josh McGuire showed he's not just a one-trick pony, starting at hooker for Samoa against Tonga. He managed 38 tackles, a line break, three tackle breaks, and a try in his 69 minutes on the park. McGuire is averaging slightly over 49 minutes per game in eight starts for Brisbane this season (54 minutes per game if you exclude Round 3 where he managed just 19 minutes after being concussed), showing he has the stamina to match the best middle men at representative level.