By the Numbers: NRL Round 19
Milestone men, the Sharks' narrow results, the Roosters win a penalty count and Queensland sides continue to dominate. These are the key numbers and statistics that defined Round 19 of the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership.
A couple of try-scoring freaks went toe-to-toe at ANZ Stadium to open the round, with both men wearing the No.2 jersey for their respective side crossing the stripe to sit comfortably atop the league's top try-scorers list through 19 rounds. Curtis Rona scored his 17th of the season late in the contest, while Semi Radradra grabbed the Eels' only points of the night. Remarkably it was the sixth consecutive game in which Radradra has scored, with the previous five encounters resulting in more than one four-pointer for the Fijian flyer.
Few clubs celebrate milestone matches like the Melbourne Storm, and when it came to honouring their captain in his 300th NRL appearance you just had a feeling they were in for a big performance. Few could've anticipated the 42-point thrashing they'd hand the Panthers, however. The experienced skipper was up to his old tricks, providing three try assists and making a customary 33 tackles and two tackle breaks. Also celebrating milestone games in Round 19 was Sharks skipper Paul Gallen (250), Cowboys forward Gavin Cooper (200), and Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson (100).
When the Sharks play, you're seemingly guaranteed some form of drama. Cronulla fans everywhere would probably prefer their side to get the job done a lot earlier, but eight of their 17 games this season have been decided by six points or less, including two golden point victories (against the Titans in Round 10, and the Raiders in Round 19).
Kade Snowden was a man on a mission for the Knights on Saturday night, making a game-high 23 runs for 171 metres plus 32 tackles and four offloads. The wet conditions at Hunter Stadium obviously added to his evasiveness, with the big prop making an impressive 10 tackle busts as his side recorded their first win since Round 10.
Greg Inglis always rises for the big occasions and a meeting with the Dragons at the historic SCG in NRL Heritage round was enough to spark the South Sydney captain into form as he ran for 175 metres and made two line breaks, eight tackle busts, a try save, as well as providing a try assist and two line-break assists in a well-rounded performance.
The Roosters losing a penalty count. It's sort of their thing. Fans have cried foul for many years, but it hasn't really stopped the Tricolours enjoying success. On Sunday afternoon against the Warriors however, something remarkable happened: they finished as the better-disciplined side, conceding four penalties to the Warriors' six. And as the scoreboard showed, they enjoyed a fairly comfortable 24-0 victory. Things are looking good for another title tilt under coach Trent Robinson.
The Brisbane Broncos currently sit alone atop the Telstra Premiership ladder on 32 points, with just three losses from their 17 starts in 2015. It's a far cry from this point last season when the Brisbane club had nine wins and eight losses, as they eventually scraped into the top eight on four-and-against. Currently on a seven-game unbeaten run, the question remains: who's going to stop Wayne Bennett's side?
That answer may come in the form of their Queensland counterparts, the Cowboys. Paul Green's men continue to roll on, winning their eighth consecutive away game on Monday night. They used to have problems collecting competition points outside of Townsville, but that no longer seems a concern for the side sitting second on the ladder.