By the Numbers: NRL Round 17
The Dragons' new recruits shine, Cronulla's front row weapon, and a try-scoring freak equals a 60-year record. The key numbers and statistics that defined Round 17 of the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership season.
Bryce Cartwright played 80 minutes in the back row for the first time in his NRL career against South Sydney on Friday night, confirming the thoughts of club legends who claim he is the best forward the Panthers have produced in recent years. Making a game-high 23 runs for 226 metres, three tackle busts, 29 tackles, and four offloads, the Panthers forward was heavily involved and just one of many talented young players Ivan Cleary has at his disposal.
Justin Hunt, Kiti Glymin, Luke Page and Mark Ioane all made their club debut for a new-look Dragons side on Saturday night, who were missing regular stars through Origin selection and injury. Hunt was immense at fullback, while Ioane scored a memorable try to keep the Red V in the contest. The loss to the Cowboys was also St George Illawarra's fourth in a row, with the side set to face the side they last tasted victory against, the Sharks, in Round 18.
While Paul Gallen provides plenty for the Sharks in the middle of the field, the numbers suggest that perhaps prop Andrew Fifita is Cronulla's most valuable tight forward. Against the Sea Eagles, Fifita scored two tries and made two line breaks, 27 tackles, four tackle breaks, a game-high six offloads, and 115 metres. It remains to be seen when Gallen will return for his club side, meaning the Sharks will continue to look towards their front row colossus to guide them forward in the coming weeks.
Try-scoring weapon Semi Radradra might only have been playing rugby league for the past few years, but he's already made history, being the first player to score two or more tries in five consecutive games for over 60 years. The last man to do so, Ray Preston, achieved the rare feat in 1954 with Newtown where he finished with 34 tries for the season. The Eels have the bye in Round 18, but Radradra and his teammates will face the Bulldogs the following week, a side Radradra scored against when the sides last met in Round 2.