Stat Attack: NRL's costliest penalty offenders revealed

Nothing infuriates a coach like a penalty to piggyback the opposition out of their red zone.

Except maybe another one late in the tackle count to take them right into prime attacking real estate.

Now an NRL.com Stats analysis can reveal the game's biggest, and most surprising culprits when it comes to costly infringements.

While the likes of Penrith Panthers recruit James Maloney (35 penalties in 2017), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (29) and Titans forward Ryan James (21) have deserved reputations for raising the ire of the referees, none feature in top 10 when it comes to our new Discipline Index.

That's not to say they were doing their teams favours with their repeated penalties.

But the Index weights a penalty's influence based on when it was conceded in the tackle count, and where a team was pinged on the field.

By multiplying the tackle on which a penalty is given away (a player's TC contribution), by the distance from his own try line (Field Position contribution) we can work out the discipline index.

And based on last season, North Queensland Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt has a bit of work to do, conceding penalties later in the count than any other player in the top 10, and on average some 70 metres from his own try line.

Worryingly for three-time wooden spooners Newcastle, marquee recruit Mitchell Pearce ranked second in this unwanted category with a score of 198.6, and was joined in the top 10 by teammates Lachlan Fitzgibbon (171.8) and Sione Mata'utia (166.9).

*Note: Now-retired Gold Coast Titans prop Brenton Lawrence finished 2017 with a Discipline Index score of 175.7 (sixth worst in the NRL) in his final season for Manly.

** The player leaderboard is based on those who conceded a minimum of 10 penalties.