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Cleary shines in defeat while Bulldogs backs break free

Nathan Cleary's Panthers might have dropped points for the first time this season, but last week's Telstra Tracker data highlighted just how hard the Penrith skipper worked to get his team over the line.

Despite going down to Parramatta 22-20 in an enthralling contest on Friday night, Cleary — who is now six weeks returned from his shoulder injury — covered more ground than any other player in Round 9, running for a total of 9588 metres.

The total distance covered by Cleary isn't particularly unusual either; the Blues halfback usually ranks inside the top five players for that category most weeks, but Round 9 was the first time this year his name has finished top of the charts.

Filling in for the suspended Jack Wighton, Matt Frawley did all he could to help Canberra over the line against the Bulldogs — coming in second behind Cleary with 9522 metres — while Canterbury halfback Kyle Flanagan rounded out the top three.

Despite going down to the Raiders, Trent Barrett's side featured prominently across a range of other categories in the Telstra Tracker data, with their outside backs in particular chalking up some very impressive numbers in defeat.

Of all players in the round, the Bulldogs finished with four of the top six players in terms of high speed distance covered, which measures the total number of metres run at a speed greater than 20 kilometres per hour. Unsurprisingly, speedster Josh Addo-Carr topped the pile with 919 metres while Brent Naden (856), Jake Averillo (765) and Matt Dufty (688) also showed a clean pair of heels.

Dufty recorded the highest speed of any player in the round — reaching a maximum velocity of 36.6 km/h against Canberra — while Josh Addo-Carr (34.5 km/h) and Aaron Schoupp (34.2 km/h) finished third and fourth respectively.

Coach Trent Barrett will no doubt be hoping the continued effort from his side corresponds with a victory this weekend, however, when they take on the cellar-dwelling Newcastle Knights to kick off the NRL's Magic Round weekend.

Telstra Tracker: Round 9

Total Distance

  1. Nathan Cleary (Panthers) — 9588 metres
  2. Matt Frawley (Raiders) — 9522 metres
  3. Kyle Flanagan (Bulldogs) — 9452 metres
  4. Ben Trbojevic (Sea Eagles) — 9336 metres
  5. Jackson Hastings (Wests Tigers) — 9245 metres

High Speed Distance (metres > 20 km/h)

  1. Josh Addo-Carr (Bulldogs) — 919 metres
  2. Reuben Garrick (Sea Eagles) — 865 metres
  3. Brent Naden (Bulldogs) — 856 metres

Maximum Velocity

  1. Matt Dufty (Bulldogs) — 36.6 km/h
  2. Tolutau Koula (Sea Eagles) — 35.1 km/h
  3. Josh Addo-Carr (Bulldogs) — 34.5 km/h
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