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NRL premiership season as close as we have seen

This season is on track to be one of the closest on record. At the halfway stage, just two wins separate the entire top eight and most teams are still in finals contention.

Sitting on top, Penrith and St George Illawarra are locked on 20 competition points with exactly the same for-and-against after 13 rounds. 

Not only is the NRL ladder jam-packed, games every weekend have been tense with several matches coming down to the final minutes.

So far it's been a season like no other and it's keeping fans (and coaches) on the edge of their seats.  

Here are some stats showing how close this season has been so far:

This is the first year since 1999 (a 17-team season) that nine teams have won seven or more games through 13 rounds. 

This season has seen the third-lowest average margin of victory of the NRL era, with the average margin of 12.63 behind only 2015's 11.75 and 2009's 12.4.

At this point of the season, 2018 has the equal lowest 24+ point margins of the NRL era (13) and the second-lowest 30+ point margins of the NRL era (7).

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Through 13 rounds, the average points scored by the winner of each match is 25.9, which is the third lowest since 1998.

Of the 100 games played for far, 59 have finished with a margin between 1-12 - the fifth-most in the NRL era at this time of the year. Of those, 35 have finished with margins between 1-6 points – the fifth most in the NRL era through 13 rounds.

Despite this there has been a distinct lack of golden point matches. This season has seen just two games go beyond the 80 minutes and none since round three. 

When Newcastle halfback Mitchell Pearce kicked the game-winning one-pointer in the second game of the season against Manly, it looked like we were in for a year of thrillers, but there has been a shortage of 80-minute draws.

The only other game that went into extra-time was Brisbane’s win over Wests Tigers when Jamayne Isaako kicked an 87th-minute penalty goal.

Speaking of golden point, Penrith fans haven't had to endure much of it over the past five seasons. They played in three golden point matches in 2012, but have only experienced it once in five-and-a-half seasons. 

Maybe this will be the round we finally go into golden point?

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