Stats that matter: Round 4
Streaks, droughts and staggering statistics highlighted another incredible round in the NRL. Here are some of the best numbers to come out of the weekend's action.
Is there a better rivalry at the moment than what the Broncos and Cowboys are producing? If possible, Friday night's classic was even better than the 2015 grand final. Both of those games went to golden point – the first time since 2006 that two teams had been involved in back-to-back extra-time thrillers. On that occasion, it was the Raiders and Wests Tigers doing battle, with the Green Machine winning both times. To cap off the eerie similarities, the Queensland derbies tallied 74 points, while the 2006 combatants contributed 75.
Broncos attack is on point
Friday night's grand final masterpiece had it all; including what has become a compulsory Anthony Milford field goal. The Broncos five-eighth has now kicked one in all three of Brisbane's wins this season. Their only loss in 2016 also featured a field-goal (courtesy of Penrith's Te Maire Martin). In fact, eight of the past nine matches involving the Broncos have featured a drop-goal, with Milford's boot providing five of them.
History repeats for the Roosters
You have to go back to 2007 to find the last time the Roosters started a season so poorly. And a quick glance at their season summary would make you think that you were seeing double. In the first five weeks of that campaign, the Tricolours lost at home to Souths and Manly, while they suffered road defeats to North Queensland and Canberra. Fast forward to the first month of the 2016 season and you could be excused for thinking you were stuck in a time warp, with losses to the same four opponents. Scarier still, they conceded 123 points in those four games; they've given up 125 in 2016.
Revenge is a dish best served luke-warm
By sheer luck the 2013, 2014 and 2015 grand finalists all faced off in replays of their respective deciders in Round 4. And in all three matches last week, the losers exacted revenge. The Broncos reversed last year's heartbreak with a one-point win of their own. The Bulldogs turned a 24 point defeat into a 30-point triumph. And the Sea Eagles went from eight-point victims to two-point victors. They'd still prefer a premiership ring.
Power outage for electric Eels
The Eels have been involved in some classic free-flowing footy over the years, but the stats suggest they have also featured in some of the lowest-scoring games. Since 2011, the blue and gold have been involved in seven matches where the winning team has scored fewer than 12 points. Having lost the first five of those encounters, the Eels are on a mini-streak, with Monday's 8-0 win over the Tigers preceded by last year's 10-4 win over Penrith.
Milestone men at the double
Josh Morris and Shaun Kenny-Dowall have both enjoyed many a highlight during their illustrious careers, but grabbing first-half doubles in their 200th games on the weekend would have to be right up there as their most memorable.
The streak… is over
For the first time since July 12, 2015, Warriors players were able to belt out the team song after a win. Their reward for ending the 260-day drought is date with the team that started their 11-game losing streak, the Roosters.
Eight blot means a lot
It's not the most common score in rugby league, but 8-0 certainly has meaning. The Tigers have been involved in the past two games featuring that scoreline, but that's not the most coincidental stat to come out of the latest 8-0 result. That Round 4 match took place on March 28, two years minus a day since the Sea Eagles took care of the Roosters 8-0 in what was their first meeting since the 2013 decider.
20 good reasons not to take the two
The Cowboys, Raiders and Roosters all scored 20 points on the weekend, but couldn't come away with the two competition points. All three teams lost those matches despite kicking penalty goals. The Cowboys can be excused because the two points levelled the scores late, but the other two teams will rue missed opportunities to push for more points.
20 is plenty for the Sharks
They might have knocked off the Storm for just the second time in 11 years, but the Sharks once again failed to reach 20 points against their southern rivals. The Storm conceded just 14 points in the loss; the 16th straight time they held the Sharks to less than 20 points.
40 points a bridge too far
The Roosters were always going to bounce back from their 40-0 shellacking at the hands of North Queensland in Round 3. They tried their socks off, but fell agonisingly short, going down 22-20 to Manly. Incredibly, the last team to lose 40-0 – the Titans in Round 2, 2015 – also lost the following week at home by two points (20-18 to the Knights).
Dragons break second-half drought
Josh Dugan's 76th-minute try against the Panthers didn't just win his side the game, it also ended a 139-minute second-half try-scoring drought that had plagued the Dragons since their Round 1 loss to the Storm.
Thunderbolts of lightning, very, very inviting
For the second time in three weeks, Melbourne's Holden Cup team scored 40 points but couldn't come away with the win. After falling to the Titans 44-42 a fortnight ago, it looked like the Thunderbolts had learned their lesson, up 40-18 with 20 minutes to play. But five tries in the final quarter of the game sparked the Sharks to an incredible win worthy of rhapsody.
You shall not pass
It was fitting that the first three tries in the NYC clash between the Warriors and Knights were scored from dummy-half, with zero passes thrown. The game in the Shire between the Sharks and Storm followed the exact same script, with both rakes and one of the Storm's 'two towers' barging over unassisted. The rest of the Holden Cup competition still has a lot to do if they want to catch the Panthers, the current lords of the premiership rings.