Stats that matter: Round 9

Here are the key numbers and quirky stats from Round 9 of the 2017 NRL Telstra Premiership season. 

Smith ticks off another career goal

He mightn't be as accurate as some of the other names on the list, but Storm skipper Cameron Smith is now the most prolific goal-kicker in premiership history after nailing five conversions against the Dragons to take his career tally to 943. The game's premier No.9 surpassed Jason Taylor on Sunday to add another record to his ever-growing CV. 

The wait is over

It took the best part of two years, but Billy Slater finally added to his impressive try-scoring tally with a double against the Dragons. The star fullback last crossed the stripe on May 10, 2015 in his side's Sunday afternoon Round 9 win over the Eels. Slater bagged a double on that occasion and repeated the dose against the Red V with two tries on a Sunday afternoon away from home in Round 9. 

Penrith's first-half woes continue

They might have mounted a late fightback on Thursday night but Penrith's inability to do any scoreboard damage in the first half is starting to become a real problem for Anthony Griffin's men. The Panthers have managed a solitary penalty goal in their past three opening halves, with their last try coming in the 28th minute of their Round 6 loss to the Rabbitohs. 

Uate party

Sea Eagles winger Akuila Uate continued his tremendous record against the Bunnies with his four-try haul on Friday taking his tally to 16 tries from 10 matches. The flying Fijian has scored in eight of those games, with his only other four-try performance also against the Bunnies back in 2011.

'Odd' stat of the week

They might not be the best first-half team but the Bulldogs have shown that their defensive line is near impenetrable after the break, especially in odd-numbered rounds where they have conceded just one second-half try in 2017. Shaun Johnson remains the only player to have breached their line in the second-half of an odd-numbered round, with the Storm, Broncos, Rabbitohs and Raiders all unable to get across the stripe. Their past three shutouts have all been at ANZ Stadium, so expect the Roosters to come out firing when they travel to the venue in Round 11. 

Obscure scoreline not a first for the Chooks

We probably won't see another 14-13 scoreline in 2017, but incredibly it's the second time the Roosters have fallen in that fashion in the space of two years. The Tricolours were beaten 14-13 by the Rabbitohs in the opening game of the 2016 Auckland Nines, and it was a case of history repeating with Trent Robinson's men suffering the same fate on Sunday, albeit at a different venue. 

Point to prove

Thursday's clash was the first time since 2013 that the Broncos and Panthers had played out a game that didn't feature a field goal. In fact, six of the past seven meetings had produced a one-pointer, with the last non-field-goal game at Suncorp all the way back in 2011. 

Stats don't mean everything

You'll often hear American broadcasters complain about the overuse of analytics to assess certain teams and players, and that school of thought can certainly be applied to rugby league. James Maloney is one of the most important playmakers in the game, but raw data suggests otherwise. The Sharks five-eighth leads the league when it comes to penalties conceded (20), he's missed the most tackles (55) and he's set up as many tries as Junior Paulo with two assists through nine rounds. It's proof that stats don't always tell the full story of a player's worth.