By the Numbers: NRL Round 2
Back-rowers' minutes analysed, Roberts' quiet start to life in Brisbane, and the Bulldogs' remarkable escape. The key numbers and statistics that defined Round 2 of the 2016 NRL Telstra Premiership season.
Impact of reduced interchange on the second row
Last week we touched on how coaches were looking to manage their front-row rotation with the reduction of interchanges to eight. Next up we move from the middle to the edges, with a breakdown of the minutes played by every starting second-rower in Round 2 below.
Panthers: Sitaleki Akauola (21), Isaah Yeo (80)
Bulldogs: Josh Jackson (80), Tony Williams (80)
Broncos: Alex Glenn (80), Matt Gillett (80)
Warriors: Bodene Thompson (80), Ryan Hoffman (80)
Raiders: Josh Papalii (80), Elliott Whitehead (80)
Roosters: Aidan Guerra (80), Mitchell Aubusson (80)
Rabbitohs: Paul Carter (50), Kyle Turner (80)
Knights: Jacob Saifiti (65), Robbie Rochow (80)
Eels: Manu Ma'u (80), Beau Scott (64)
Cowboys: Gavin Cooper (80), Ethan Lowe (80)
Sharks: Luke Lewis (65), Wade Graham (80)
Dragons: Tyson Frizell (80), Joel Thompson (80)
Storm: Kevin Proctor (59), Tohu Harris (77)
Titans: Zeb Taia (73), Chris McQueen (80)
Wests Tigers: Curtis Sironen (10), Chris Lawrence (80)
Sea Eagles: Lewis Brown (65), Martin Taupau (80)
As expected, the overwhelming majority of edge forwards are pushing out 80 minutes, with a few notable exceptions. Anthony Griffin decided to start Sitaleki Akauola in the back row, leaving Bryce Cartwright (59 minutes) on the bench for the opening exchanges. Michael Maguire opted to spread the minutes across his bench against Newcastle, likewise Craig Bellamy in Melbourne's win over Gold Coast, and an injury to Curtis Sironen on Monday night saw Kyle Lovett play 70 minutes from the bench. Generally speaking though, expect the men on the edges to post big minutes each week. However it's not as cut-and-dried when it comes to how each side utilise their No.13, which we'll look at next week.
Bulldogs win despite never leading
They may have come away with the two points against Penrith on Thursday night but in that game the Bulldogs led for a grand total of zero seconds, with debutant Kerrod Holland's kick after the siren securing an unlikely comeback victory.
Key to the Dogs' win was halfback Moses Mbye, who has begun his first season as the club's first-choice halfback in style. Two tries, a try assist, 11 tackle breaks, 17 tackles, 112 metres and three line breaks made for a big night out for the rising star. Things are looking good for Des Hasler's side with Mbye at the helm.
Quiet start for James Roberts at Brisbane
Despite the Broncos starting the season 2-0, there's been some talk surrounding James Roberts' lack of involvement in Brisbane's two victories. Against the Warriors in Round 2 Roberts made 84 metres from 10 runs plus 13 tackles and two tackle breaks, and received the ball on just 12 occasions. Those numbers aren't terrible, particularly when compared with his 2015 season averages at the Titans (105.2 metres, 12 tackles, four tackle breaks, 15.5 possessions per game).
Roberts may be yet to be directly involved in any try-scoring opportunity or break the line in Broncos colours, but according to Darius Boyd Roberts' presence alone created room for his try on Friday night. It's been a relatively quiet start in terms of attacking returns for Roberts, but the underlying numbers suggest if his teammates can give him more early ball, we'll see 'Jimmy the Jet' among the try-scorers in the weeks to come.
Season stats leaders after Round 2
Points: Bryson Goodwin (26), James Tedesco (20), Mitchell Moses (18), Jamie Soward (18), Jarrod Croker (18).
Tries: James Tedesco (5), Aaron Gray (4), David Nofoaluma (3), Bryson Goodwin (3), Alex Johnston (3).
Run Metres: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (405), Aaron Woods (395), James Graham (372), James Tedesco (340), Corey Oates (333).
Tackles: Simon Mannering (110), Jake Friend (105), Nathan Peats (98), Tyler Randell (91), James Graham (86).