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Roosters forward Victor Radley.

Of all the statistics we use to analyse players' performances, one of the most unheralded is support plays.

Points, try assists, tackle busts, as well as total tackles and metres – these are all headline stats that are regularly dominated by the biggest names in the game. Stats crunched the numbers on who the top supporting players are and the list was dominated by notable support runners – fullbacks and halves like James Tedesco (563), Chad Townsend (562) and Michael Gordon (552).

But who are the forward workhorses who already churn out stacks of tackles and metres per game yet still find the energy to support ball-runners, not knowing if they'll be needed for a run or not?

Looking at just players who started in the prop, lock or second row position in five or more games in the 2018 Telstra Premiership, the leader by weight of numbers was Manly star Jake Trbojevic with 339 support runs in 23 games while the leader on a per-game basis was up-and-coming Roosters lock Victor Radley.

Radley's 10 run-on games netted 150 supports at 15 per game, just ahead of Cam Murray (14.9 in eight run-on starts) and Trbojevic (14.7).

Veteran Gavin Cooper (278 at 12.6 per game) was next best by average and second in total after Trbojevic while Ryan James (273 at 11.9) notched the third-biggest support tally among forwards.

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