A below-par three weeks from Canberra has seen coach Ricky Stuart lose faith with right centre Curtis Scott, with the stats revealing some worrying numbers in attack and defence for the team's right edge compared to last season.
The former Storm three-quarter and new English half George Williams are so far under-performing what preferred right-edge combination Joey Leilua and Aidan Sezer managed in the 2019 grand final run.
An NRL.com Stats analysis backs up Stuart's comments this week that Scott is playing without confidence. Averaging out the form of last year's preferred right side half-centre pairing against this year's, the numbers are stark.
Sezer only played 15 regular season games and Leilua nine due to a neck injury, so their numbers are a represented as a combined per-game average; they did not always play in the same game(s). Finals games have not been included in the analysis, only regular-season fixtures.
The defensive numbers are particularly concerning.
After seven games the Williams-Scott edge is responsible for almost double the try causes on average.
Scott has six try causes in seven games and Williams has four, making it close to 1.5 per game between the pair. Sezer gave up seven try causes in 15 games and Leilua just two in nine last year for an average of around 0.7 per game combined.
Throwing in the full season of right centres – which included games from Nick Cotric, Sebastian Kris and Michael Oldfield – that position accounted for just 11 try causes in 24 games, or just below once every second game on average.
The Williams-Scott combination is also missing more than one extra tackle per game than Sezer-Leilua, with an increase in average errors and penalties conceded.
Try involvements are fractionally up thanks to Williams' seven try assists in seven games. But tackle busts have dropped dramatically thanks to Leilua (just over four per game last year) leaving the club while line break involvements have roughly halved.
Overall through seven games, Canberra's points differential of +4.4 per game is down on last year's average of +6.2 per game, and they are scoring 3.5 points per game fewer.
A breakdown of tries scored and conceded by zone reveals that in both 2019 and 2020, the left side is more profitable for scoring and both the left and right side tries are down by about a third so far in 2020.
However defensively, the left side has improved this year, going from just over a try per game conceded to five tries in seven games. However on the right, which also let in about a try per game last year, has let in nine in seven games this year.
The right edge has also been without specialist John Bateman so far in 2020 due to a shoulder injury, with utility forward Joe Tapine slotting in. With just a single try-cause in six games (compared to eight in 20 from Bateman last year) the issue largely appears to be further out on the edge.
Oldfield replaces Scott in the starting side for Friday's return to GIO Stadium against the Dragons as Stuart seeks to stop opposition sides nabbing early tries down the Raiders' right edge.