Stats that matter: Round 16

Divine intervention played its part and a veteran finally tasted victory in another wacky weekend of footy. Here are the quirky stats and intriguing numbers to come from Round 16 of the Telstra Premiership. 

Cometh the hour, cometh the man 

"The Lord was on my side."

That's how Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce replied when asked to explain his field goal heroics in the city of churches. The NSW No.7 had missed 18 shots in a row before he broke his drought in the Anzac Day thriller over the Dragons and has since nailed one-pointers against the Warriors and Storm. Incredibly, that was the Roosters' first field goal against the Storm since 2003 and their first at 'home' since 2000. 

 


Fourteenth time lucky

Roosters fullback Michael Gordon must have thought he was stuck in his own version of Groundhog Day when the Storm skipped out to a 12-point lead with less than 10 minutes remaining. The veteran custodian had played Melbourne 13 times before Saturday night's game in Adelaide for a grand total of zero wins. He'd tasted defeat on eight occasions as a Panther, lost four as a Shark and couldn't get it done in his only attempt as an Eel, but thanks to his clutch goal-kicking and Pearce's heroics, he finally broke through for a win in golden point. Interestingly, his first game against the Storm back in 2006 also went to extra-time, only for Cooper Cronk to break Penrith's hearts with the match-winning field goal. 

Manly dominate the battle of the beaches

Not since Roy Scheider took down Jaws in the first two instalments of the cinematic tetralogy has a man – or team – dominated the supposed apex predator quite like the Sea Eagles. It doesn't matter where they are on the ladder, but the proud northern beaches club always saves its best for the Sharks. Manly's victory over the defending premiers took their tally to 63 wins from 89 matches against Cronulla, including 14 from their past 16 encounters. 

 


Good things come in threes… and fours

Jason Nightingale joined illustrious company on Sunday afternoon when he became the fourth Dragon to score 100 tries. The former Kiwis winger joins Nathan Blacklock, Matt Cooper and Brett Morris as the only players in the famous Red V jersey to have reached triple figures. Bizarrely, Nightingale has only scored in three matches this season; it just so happens that he has bagged hat-tricks in all of those games. 

Newcastle's second-half woes continue 

If games went for 40 minutes then the Knights would be one of the teams to beat in 2017. Alas, that's not the case, and as a result the Novocastrians find themselves at the other end of the ladder. The Knights looked in total control leading 28-10 at half-time – the most points the joint-venture had conceded in a half at UOW Jubilee Oval in the club's history – but Nathan Brown's men shut up shop in the second stanza and succumbed to another defeat; the seventh time this season they've blown a half-time lead.

Same old story for New Zealand? 

The Warriors might look like a tempting proposition for this weekend's tips, but beware; the men from across the ditch are winless from eight trips to Perth. Leading at half-time has never been an issue, but the long flight and time difference always catches up with them in the end. That said, I'll still be tipping them.