Cotric comes out on top in tackle break battle

Kalyn Ponga and James Tedesco may have earned glowing reviews for their 2018 efforts but Nick Cotric's work for the Canberra Raiders saw him top that duo in a key attacking statistic.

The 20-year-old floated between fullback and wing in his second year of the NRL to finish with a total of 149 tackle breaks, pipping Tedesco by two in the regular season according to NRL.com Stats.

Four fullbacks finished in the top five. Cotric took over the duties when Jack Wighton was suspended late in the season.

Cotric's form throughout the season saw the 20-year-old on the cusp for higher honours and part of Brad Fittler's extended squad throughout NSW's successful Holden State of Origin series.

Tedesco's 147 tackle breaks came from two less games than Cotric played, with the incumbent Australian No.1 missing clashes during the Origin period.

Newcastle livewire Ponga finished the season with the highest average – seven tackle busts per game. An ankle injury late in the season cost him a chance of finishing with the highest aggregate.

Ponga ranked third behind Cotric and Tedesco (147) with 140 tackle breaks in 20 games.

The gap between the trio and next best Tom Trbojevic was substantial.

Trbojevic (114) and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (109) rounded out the top five for their respective clubs in 22 matches apiece at a 5.2 average.

Despite only managing eight games until a season-ending shoulder injury in May, Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards remained in a top 10 averages with 5.6 per game.

The battle between Edwards and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak for the fullback spot in 2019 is a major talking point in Sydney's West.

The Kiwis Test captain accumulated 3.6 tackle busts per game at fullback in Edwards' absence this season.