Much was made of the fatigue factor in round three as the new six-again rule caused a faster ruck speed, more ball-in-play time and additional play-the-balls.
Its impact is reflected in the Telstra Tracker data, with the number of high-speed efforts declining and lower maximum speeds recorded.
Compared to the first two rounds, round three had nearly three more total minutes of ball-in-play time, the average play-the-ball speed was up by 0.21 seconds, and there were 32.1 extra play-the-balls per game.
The additional workload took a toll.
Tellingly, the top-ranking players weren't able to produce the same volume of high-speed efforts (bursts of 20km/h or more).
Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic led the way with 31 high-speed efforts last round; in round two, Melbourne's Ryan Papenhuyzen recorded 36, while in round one, Penrith's Brent Naden had 34.
The average number of high-speed efforts among the top five players in round three was 28.4.
It was 30.4 in round two and 31.4 in round one.
Manly winger Reuben Garrick clocked the top maximum speed of the round with 34.3km/h. With that result, he would have only ranked fourth in round two and third in round one.
Storm flyer Josh Addo-Carr holds the mantle for the fastest time of 2020 with the 36.8km/h he ran in round two.
The average maximum speed among the five fastest players of round three was 33.46km/h.
It was 34.98km/h in round two and 34.2km/h in round one.
Along with the six-again rule and the decision to revert back to one referee, the two-month playing break due to the COVID-19 pandemic may well have contributed to these statistical decreases.
However, a new benchmark of 10.6km was set for maximum distance covered by Newcastle centre Enari Tuala, bettering the previous mark of 10.1km achieved by Dragons back Zac Lomax in round one.
Tuala's Knights drew with Penrith in a 90-minute affair - the first golden point match of the season.
The rest of the top five was filled by Newcastle and Penrith players - Kurt Mann was second (10.4km), followed by Jarome Luai (10.2), Bradman Best (10.1) and Matt Burton (10).