Stats that matter: Round 1

Here are the key numbers from an incredible opening round of the 2017 Telstra Premiership season. 

The Saints are coming 

What a time to be alive for Dragons fans. Saturday's 42-10 win over the Panthers sent shockwaves through the competition and forced rugby league scribes to update their record books. The 32-point win eclipsed their previous biggest wins over Penrith (42-14 in 2001 and 38-10 in 2009), while Gareth Widdop's 22-point haul equalled the club record for most points in a game, tying Amos Roberts's effort from 2000 and Jamie Soward's day out against Canberra in 2007.  

Hat-trick heroes

There was another reason to celebrate for fans of the Red V when Joel Thompson crossed for his first hat-trick at NRL level. It took 152 games for the Ken Stephen medallist to notch a treble in first grade, while Rabbitohs winger Bryson Goodwin had to wait until his 154th with a three-try haul against the Tigers on Friday night. Roosters centre Latrell Mitchell made his move to the three-quarter line look easy with a hat-trick in game 25, while David Fusitu'a's first-half treble took his tally to seven tries from his last two games against Newcastle.  

Streaks stay alive while hoodoos finally snapped

The Storm made it 15 Round 1 wins in a row (they lost their season opener in 2004 but had a Round 1 bye) with a gutsy 12-6 victory over the Bulldogs that snapped a six-game losing streak against the blue and whites. The Raiders lost their ninth game on the trot in Townsville, while the Warriors won their first Round 1 match since 2009. The Eels have a disastrous record against the Sea Eagles but Sunday's win was their sixth in a row against Manly, a new club record.

Life of Brian

Brian Kelly will remember his NRL debut for many reasons – namely because he grabbed the opening try of the game – but we also learnt that he became the first 'Brian' to play in the NRL since Brian Carney played for the Knights in 2006. What's more, the Brian brothers (they're not actually related) both scored in Round 1 at home against the Eels.

 


Golden start to the season

North Queensland's dramatic golden point win over Canberra was the fifth time a Round 1 game had gone to extra time. The Storm and Dragons were the first teams to do it in 2009, while the Dragons and Tigers both kicked winning field goals in 2012. Melbourne did it again in 2014 with a Cameron Smith one-pointer enough to sink the Sea Eagles 23-22. The Cowboys' win was the second-straight regular-season golden point game to finish 20-16 after the Bulldogs downed Manly by the same scoreline in Round 23 last year. They play the Broncos this Friday night, and having finished all square after 80 minutes in three of their previous four meetings, you'd be foolish to rule out another golden point thriller. 

Race to 2000 continues

How special would it have been for legends Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston to reach 2000 points in Round 1? Alas, they both fell just short, but the pair should get there this week. The Storm skipper needs three more points to become the first forward to score 2000 points, while he and Thurston will become the first Queenslanders to reach the milestone if JT scores a point against Brisbane. Both play on Friday night, but thanks to New Zealand's time zone, Smith will be favoured to sneak past his Maroons and Kangaroos teammate. 

Unwanted record for unlucky Knights

Newcastle's heartbreaking loss in Auckland stretched their winless run to 19 games. Another defeat on Saturday against the Titans would make it 20 on the trot and will see them join Newtown in equal fifth place for most consecutive losses.