Stats that matter: Round 3
Here are the key numbers from Round 3 of the 2017 NRL Telstra Premiership season.
Everyone's a winner, baby, that's the truth
It's been a long time since anyone has listened to Hot Chocolate, but it's been longer still since every team has chalked up a win this early in the season. Everyone's a Winner – what a song it was – was released in 1978 to honour the 1973 season when all 12 clubs had posted victories after three rounds. OK that statement mightn't be entirely true, but who's to say otherwise? Canberra's win on Sunday means all 16 NRL clubs have collected at least one win at this stage of the season for the first time in 44 years. Due to the closeness of the competition, any team can win on their day, even this Sunday when the 16th-placed Tigers host the table-topping Storm. Do you believe in miracles? Wrong song. Oops!
Raiders inflict capital punishment
To say the Raiders have the Wests Tigers' measure is an understatement. The Green Machine have now outscored the black and golds 158-22 in their past three clashes. Jarrod Croker alone has scored 54 points in those games, while Raiders winger Jordan Rapana has eight tries compared to just four for the Tigers. There is a silver lining for the Tigers; they don't play Canberra again in 2017.
Storm are second-half specials
Like Gandalf on the Bridge of Khazad-Dum in the Mines of Moria, the Storm have one simple message for their opponents after half-time: You shall not pass! Melbourne have allowed just 28 points in their past seven second-halves, with last year's runners-up not conceding more than a try after the break in any of those games. Ben Hunt's four-pointer on Thursday was the first time their line had been breached post half-time in 2017.
New venue, same problem for Warriors
Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin is the envy of most sporting grounds. The enclosed venue generates an atmosphere that is hard to rival anywhere on the planet, and the local support was meant to help the Warriors against a Bulldogs side that had taken its home game to New Zealand's South Island. Instead, it was a case of déjà vu for the Kiwis who lost 24-12 to take their record in New Zealand away from Mount Smart Stadium to a lowly six wins from 30 matches.
Scoring first isn't everything
In the eight matches played in Round 3, only two teams that scored the opening try went on to win. It's an incredible stat given how well certain teams perform as front-runners and shows just how quickly momentum can turn in what is fast becoming the tightest competition on record.
Return of the King
Yes, there's always room for one more Lord of the Rings reference. The King family continued its proud history in the game with Max becoming a fourth-generation player when he took the field for the Titans on Friday night. Cec King played for the Rabbitohs from 1945-46, Johnny King played 191 times for the Dragons and David King represented Gold Coast nine times from 1991-92. However, as David Middleton pointed out on Twitter, Jye Mullane was the first fourth-generation player when he made his Sharks debut in 2002.