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Stat Attack: Halting Penrith back five the key for Souths

Nullifying Penrith's powerful back five, who have averaged the most running metres per game in the league, will be paramount to South Sydney's premiership hopes in Sunday's grand final.

According to Telstra Tracker data, Panthers backs Dylan Edwards, Brian To'o, Paul Momirovski, Matt Burton and Stephen Crichton carry the ball for a combined average of 740 metres per match.

Meanwhile, with an average of 619 combined metres per game, their Rabbitohs counterparts Blake Taaffe, Alex Johnston, Dane Gagai, Campbell Graham and Jaxson Paulo are ranked 10th.

Penrith winger Brian To'o is the key reason his team are so good at rolling out of their own end with the New South Wales representative averaging a monster 246 metres per outing.

And while underrated Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards isn't a big body, he averages 191 metres per match as well.

South Sydney's backs are exceptionally potent in attacking range, however, and they also boast a speed advantage.

Winger Johnston (35.9km/h) and centre Gagai (35.7km/h) are the only players on either team to have surpassed 35km/h this season. To'o (34.7km/h) and Burton (33.9km/h) are Penrith's quickest.

The tussle between the halves could go a long way to deciding the contest with Panthers duo Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai up against Rabbitohs pair Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker.

Telstra Tracker data shows that on average Cleary easily covers the most overall distance of the quartet with 9.139km per game.

Luai (8.376km) comfortably ranks ahead of Walker (7.56km) and Reynolds (7.166) in that department too. The Penrith playmakers' tendency to more frequently play both sides of the field in attack could explain why.

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