By the Numbers: NRL Round 13
Walker's Perth form, the Titans' potent right edge, Canberra's record-breaking skipper, and the Cowboys' point-scoring spree. These are the key numbers and statistics that defined Round 13 of the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership season.
Much has been made of Daly Cherry-Evans's decision to remain at the Sea Eagles, but both he and Ben Hunt played important roles for their respective sides at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night. The Sea Eagles star had a try assist, line break, 29 tackles, three tackle busts and 261 kick metres, while Hunt scored a try and produced a try assist, line break, line-break assist, 20 tackles, four tackle busts, two offloads and 459 kick metres.
The Titans' right-edge combination of centre James Roberts and winger Anthony Don has proved lethal after 13 rounds of the season, with both players crossing for 11 tries each - equal second on the competition try-scorers tally. Curtis Rona continues to set the pace with 13 tries in 12 appearances, while Rabbitohs winger Alex Johnston (10) and Raiders five-eighth Blake Austin (nine) round out the top five.
Jarrod Croker continues to smash records in the nation's capital. Saturday's big win over the Knights saw the young Raiders skipper break through the 1,000 points barrier for the Green Machine, the third player in the club's history to do so. And at just 24, there are plenty more records set to tumble in the coming seasons.
Rabbitohs centre Dylan Walker has been relatively quiet since returning from injury in Round 7 but exploded against the Warriors in Perth, scoring two tries. He also managed a try assist, three line breaks, one line-break assist, five tackle busts and 153 run metres in a performance that signalled his return to form. Walker's feats should come as little surprise, after he scored two tries in the corresponding fixture at nib Stadium in 2014.
The Panthers weren't at their best against the Storm at Pepper Stadium on Saturday night, and the numbers don't make for great reading. Penrith completed 18 of 36 sets (50 per cent), as opposed to the Storm's 31 of 40 (77.5 per cent). The home side also missed 23 tackles, with just nine from Melbourne. The bye couldn't have come at a better time for the Panthers, who are again without a host of stars sidelined through injury.
Luke Lewis has played everywhere but at fullback, hooker and prop during his NRL career, and on Sunday notched up his 100th NRL try to help the Sharks to a memorable 10-4 win over the Roosters at Remondis Stadium. Fellow experienced forward Paul Gallen also made his return from injury during that same match, making a game-high 26 runs for 246 metres as well as 37 tackles. Not bad for man who's been sidelined since Round 6 with a glute injury.
Josh Reynolds spent the majority of the Bulldogs' win over the Dragons on the bench, but when he was unleashed by coach Des Hasler at the 60 minute mark, he brought a passion and energy to the field few others could match. While his numbers (three tackles, two offloads, 28 run metres and 96 kick metres) weren't as impressive as those of his teammates, he certainly provided the spark the Bulldogs needed to get on top of their opponents.
Round 13 came to an astonishing conclusion on Monday night, with the Cowboys running in five tries in the space of 11 minutes to claim victory over the Eels at Pirtek Stadium. With the visitors down 30-6, Matthew Wright started proceedings, with second-rower Gavin Cooper claiming a hat-trick in the space of seven minutes and Kane Linnett sealing the deal with 13 minutes remaining. Co-captain Johnathan Thurston also kicked six from six attempts in a crazy night in Parramatta.