Round 3 certainly delivered the tries, a total of 44 from all the games and a massive 3965 tackles from all the games! But who stood out and where can teams improve? Let’s see what round 3 has shown us.
Now we are 3½ games in I think it’s only fair we start looking at tries every so often, Leigh didn’t get anything on the board in their match against Wigan and Castleford scored a bucket load of 12 past Leeds but perhaps looking at averages is a better measurement.
The lowest average tries per game is Wakefield and Catalans with just 2, the highest is of course Castleford with 8.33 tries per game, not sure if they will keep that up through the season by my goodness they can attack.
Leigh and Widnes both had the hardest time in defence tackling 385 times in a game, I’m not sure we’ll see a joint top tackling team again this season! Castleford didn’t tackle nearly as much making just 238 tackles, when you score 66 points in a game there isn’t much time for tackling.
A quick not here is that watching some teams on Sky (Leeds highlighted this for me), more tackles doesn’t mean a better defence. If you watch the Castleford vs Leeds match again, watch the number of players tacking each player. Certainly, for props and bigger positions it took five players to stop them, so that’s 4 or 5 tackles per carry.
Tackle bursts, Castleford top this metric with a mind blowing 47 recorded tackle burst in a game the next nearest team was Wigan with 22. The lowest amount of tackle burst was St Helens with just 15, this is perhaps showing a weakness there.
An indication of how active that Castleford side was, 201 carries again they lead the table with Wigan second with 181 carries. Previous table toppers here Leeds Rhinos could only manage 134 carries in a game, interestingly Wigan won their game last week with that many carries!
Castleford Tigers make the most with 1526 metres made, Leeds made the least amount of metres with just 847. But it’s Hull who made the most Metre’s per carry with 8.08 on average made, surprisingly it is Giants that made the least metres per carry with just 6.28 metres. Only four teams made over 7 metres per carry in the round: Castleford, Wigan, Salford and Hull.
Salford with a week off last week return to the kings of dummy running with 21 runs from dummy half, Giants tried this just 7 times. It’s clearly a tactic that works for Salford but something other teams should take note of.
With Sky watching on Luke Gale missed 3 kicks again but kicked 9 goals, only Mark Sneyd comes close with 8 goals and 0 missed.
Errors & Penalties and cards
Hats off to a very professional Wakefield outfit with just 5 errors in a game which is boarding on incredible and probably helped in their narrow win against Saints. Leigh top this table this week with 18 errors…when it’s not going well it’s not going well.
There wasn’t much to choose between the sides for penalties with Huddersfield committing the most with 10 penalties, now fewer than 5 teams all committed 6 penalties in this round to be joint bottom.
Everyone avoided a card during the round, wonder how many rounds we’ll get like that?
What does it all mean?
Castleford look to be in prime position just now, on the field they look frightening in attack and committed when they defend. They lead nearly every metric I have to measure and show no signs of letting up.
Wigan are looking strong as well, 4.67 tries per game only 19 missed tackles per game avg, second highest avg metres gain per carry but it’s not all a rose garden. Errors in the Wigan side for example are average which for a team of such talent it should be a bit lower than that.
I asked last week, can Hull improve? They can with 8 tries, 100% kicking record, second most metres made and highest average gain per carry for round 3, 3rd most tackle bursts, 2nd most clean breaks…. That’s improving against a previously quite strong Giants side.