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Stat Attack: How Edwards flew into top spot for kick defusals

Dylan Edwards had plenty of critics last year when it came to defusing bombs but he silenced those doubters in emphatic style in 2020.

The kick defusal in rugby league is one of the most important parts of the game with attacking sides looking for an edge with the boot.

A kick is deemed effectively defused when it doesn't result in an error, try, or repeat possession for the opposition.

The competition-leading Panthers were strongest in this department in 2020 with a 71.6% success rate during their run of form in the regular season that saw them crowned minor premiers.

While the Panthers defused fewer successful kicks than most clubs, their total of 53 for unsuccessful defusals was easily the best of any team in the competition.  

Edwards battled with injury throughout the year but was otherwise rock-solid in 11 regular-season appearances with 30 successful kicks defused from 32 attempts.

He was once guilty of making six errors at the back against the Storm in 2019, and another four the following week, but rebounded with a strong year to lead the way with a personal 93.8% success rate.

Newcastle fullback Kalyn Ponga defused a competition-high 67 kicks in 18 games as the Knights recorded the second-best percentages followed by the Titans (70.7%) and Cowboys (70.3%).

Ponga recorded 33 of his total by defusing bomb kicks, but failed to latch onto 11 in the air. 

Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad finished the season with 36 bombs defused ahead of Ponga. 

Matt Dufty had the highest tally of kicks that weren't taken with 26, which included 21 from bombs.

Best finishes: Panthers and Knights share the spoils

St George Illawarra struggled for a consecutive season after ranking 15th last season with 77 kicks not defused.

Dufty, however, finished behind Ponga with 65 successful attempts.

The Sea Eagles were clear strugglers in this area with a paltry 55.6% of kicks defused in total, including a competition-high 48 bomb kicks not defused.

The Bulldogs, Rabbitohs and Warriors also finished in the bottom four on percentages. 

Bulldogs pair Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Nick Meaney were among those who defused just 50 percent of kicks for the season, while Tevita Funa also struggled in Des Hasler's side.

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