Stat Attack: Mix of size and speed lead metres over advantage line

They're the sharp and nippy players who get their side on the front foot consistently and get the opposition peddling backwards.

NRL.com Stats crunched the numbers to find out which players stood out most in net distance gained from the play-the-ball to the end of a run in 2018.

While the sight of Jason Taumalolo or David Klemmer running the ball forward would be enough to intimidate rivals, what happens after their charges can prove just as important with a wide range of positions making up the top 10 for the average metres gained over the advantage line.

St George Illawarra fullback Matt Dufty finished the 2018 season on top with 11.76 metres per run on average over the advantage line.

The 22-year-old had a breakout season on the paddock to play in every game for the Red V and include 13 tries and nine assists.

Canterbury's Michael Lichaa showed glimpses of the running game he made inroads with in late 2017 this year to finish with a career-high 48.18 metres per game.

He finished second overall behind Dufty with an average of 11.64 metres per run over the advantage line.

This stat measures only a run that is the first to occur within a tackle, that doesn't follow a kick or turnover, and that starts behind the advantage line. Runs that begin within 10 metres of the attacking try-line are excluded.

Only two clubs recorded consecutive players in the top 10 with Dufty's teammate Cameron McInnes ranked seventh, while Joseph Tapine (4th) and Joey Leilua (10th) were dominant in the Raiders line-up.

Tapine was the highest-rated back-rower with an average of 11.45 average metres over the advantage line per carry, followed by Isaah Yeo at Penrith with 10.81.

South Sydney fullback Alex Johnston, who has been mooted for a potential switch back to the wing in 2019, finished the season in third spot with 11.57 average metres per run.

James Tedesco finished in sixth spot with a 10.94 average in the Roosters' premiership year, while Andrew McCullough came in at eighth.