Stats that matter: Round 4
Here are the key numbers from Round 4 of the 2017 NRL Telstra Premiership season.
Mixed results for milestone men
Andrew McCullough became the youngest player to reach 200 games and celebrated the milestone with a try in his side's 13-12 win over the Raiders. Daly Cherry-Evans set up five tries in his 150th match while Brett Morris could only watch on as his side was thrashed in his 200th game. Warriors veteran Simon Mannering became his side's most-capped player when he ran out for the 262nd time, but that's where the joy ended as the New Zealanders were humbled by the red-hot Dragons.
Awesome foursome keen to rewrite history
Only two teams are unbeaten after the first four rounds, with the Roosters starting 4-0 for the first time since 1996, while the Storm were last in this position back in 2013. Interestingly, both sides were bundled out of the finals in straight sets that year despite starting with lengthy winning streaks.
Panthers freeze out their opposition
The frozen Oaks were flowing at Pepper Stadium after the Panthers thrashed the Knights 40-0 on Friday night. It was the first time they'd held a team scoreless at the venue since Round 5, 1999 when they beat the Eels 13-0. However, they did beat the Titans 40-0 at home in Round 2, 2015, although that match was played in Bathurst.
Canterbury's dog of a day
Had Dylan Walker slotted his 80th-minute conversion, the Sea Eagles would have equalled their biggest win over the Bulldogs. Instead, they fell two points short of the record set back in 1954 (45-7) courtesy of four tries and nine goals to Ron Rowles. It was also the third time Manly had held the Bulldogs scoreless (18-0 in 1988 and 26-0 in 1995). While it was a day to forget at his old stomping ground, Des Hasler's worst loss as Bulldogs coach remains the 38-0 defeat at the hands of the Roosters when Sonny Bill Williams scored a double against his former side back in 2013.
Second-half records salute
We revealed last week that the Storm had conceded just 28 second-half points in their past seven matches, and their defensive nous was on show again on Sunday with Melbourne holding the Tigers scoreless in the second stanza. It's the third time in four games this year that the Storm have stonewalled their opponents in the second half, and worryingly for the Tigers, it's the third match in a row they’ve failed to score after half-time.
Bellamy joins coaching elite
Melbourne's win over the Tigers saw Craig Bellamy become just the fifth coach to record 250 victories in the NRL, joining Wayne Bennett, Tim Sheens, Brian Smith and Bob Fulton. It's an incredible achievement with Bellamy taking just 372 games to get there courtesy of a 67.2 per cent winning record as coach. Sunday's win also saw Cameron Smith join Darren Lockyer on 237 wins, with the Storm skipper a chance to break the record against Penrith this weekend.
Widdop joins illustrious company
Dragons skipper Gareth Widdop became just the third player from the merger club to register 500 points in the NRL. Jamie Soward sits comfortably on top with 977 points, while Mark Riddell scored 517 for the Red V.
Who would have tipped the Dragons to be the competition's best attacking side after the first four rounds? The Red V are the only team to have reached 100 points, and they'll look to extend their good start against the NRL's worst defensive side, the Tigers, on Sunday afternoon.
Many people are tipping the Storm to slip up in the coming weeks, but don't expect that to happen on Saturday against Penrith. The Storm have won 16 of the past 17 meetings between the sides, with the last three games producing a 96-16 aggregate score.