Stats that matter: Round 23
Here are the key numbers and quirky stats from Round 23 of the 2017 NRL Telstra Premiership season.
A Knight to remember
Bus rides home haven't been a great deal of fun for the Knights in recent times, but almost two years since they last won on the road, Newcastle snapped a 23-game losing streak to claim a stunning win away from home. Their previous away win was against the Storm in Round 24, 2015, and Friday's result was also the first time they'd won three matches in a row since they claimed six victories on the trot from Round 25, 2014 to Round 4 the following year.
Panthers show off their eight pack
This has nothing to do with Josh Mansour's abs, rather the fact the Panthers have won five matches at Pepper Stadium by exactly eight points in 2017. The Panthers have claimed eight-point wins over the Warriors, Sea Eagles, Titans, Bulldogs and Cowboys, and would have had another had Tyrone May not scored in the 78th minute to turn an eight-point lead into a 14-point triumph over the Wests Tigers.
Unlucky 13 for Roosters
If Saturday's 16-13 loss to the Storm wasn't bad enough, spare a thought for Roosters fans who had nightmares of the 2004 grand final that saw them fall to the Bulldogs by the same score. Incredibly Saturday's loss wasn't the first time they'd scored 13 and lost a game this season after they went down 14-13 to the Warriors in Round 9 while they also lost to the New Zealanders 30-13 across the ditch in Week Two of the 2008 finals series.
Defence sinks the Titans
If you thought the Titans' past fortnight was bad then you'd be right. In fact, it's their worst defensive stretch in the club's history. The Titans coughed up 92 points in back-to-back losses to the Raiders and Bulldogs in their inaugural season and then allowed 90 points in consecutive defeats at the hands of Canberra and Melbourne in 2008, but the 96 they've conceded in their most recent losses to the Broncos and Dragons is rock bottom for the Gold Coast.
Super Mann is Gold Coast's kryptonite
Astute punters were onto something when they flocked to their favourite bookmakers to put some hard-earned cash on Kurt Mann to score against the Titans. First and last try-scorer tipsters were duly rewarded and there was method behind their madness to back the Dragons halfback to find the line. In St George Illawarra's previous two matches against the Titans, Mann was the only Dragon to score a try, with the utility crossing twice in Round 19 last season while he claimed their sole four-pointer on the Gold Coast in Round 17 earlier in the year.