Castleford score over 10 tries for the second time in 7 rounds, Warrington Wolves don’t lose and Widnes win! It all happened in round 7 but with every team getting 3 tries or more let’s see what the difference was between winning or losing…
3 is said to be the magic number but it’s also the number of tries that each of the following teams achieved in this round – Huddersfield, Wigan, Salford, Catalans, Hull and Saints.
Top trumps for tries is top of the table Castleford Tigers with 10 including 2 hat-tricks.
To quote a recent interview with the Cas Tigers head coach “well you don’t want to be tackled much if you can help it” and again the Tigers are bottom of the tackles made list in this round with 260. The highest tackling side was Salford, so even though they came out the victors on Thursday night it was hard work for them.
Both Leeds and Castleford showed their class this week by missing just 15 tackles in 80 minutes, this coincides with both teams occupying the first and second spot in the league – this I feel underlines how import effective tackling can be.
For the last few weeks this metric has been increasing with its absurdity, 42 from Hull two rounds ago, then Wigan with 51 and now Castleford with 53 tackles burst, that’s a tackle bursts every 1 and half minutes.
Wigan and Huddersfield only burst through 15 times, which shows if you’re not breaking through that defensive line you’ll struggle to win games.
Not to be outdone by Castleford the rest of the teams really went for the metres this round, Warrington despite drawing made 1709 metres with 189 carries which gives them the most metres accolade but not the highest avg gain per carry. The highest average carry gain comes from Wakefield with 9.13 metres made per carry, they are seeing a real change in fortunes or late.
Three teams got into double figures for clean breaks, Castleford with 12, Leigh Centurions with 11 and Wakefield Trinity with 10. Showing not only their ability to move the ball into positions that allow clean breaks but to execute these clean breaks.
Leeds have turned a corner with goals only missing 1 from 6, one to watch though is Luke Gale having scored a hattrick of tries and 6 goals he scored 24 points in a match for the second time this year. If he’d just score a drop goal or one of the 4 kicks he missed he would break Castleford’s SL single player points record (I looked it up).
Errors & Penalties
Errors is an interesting metric, it shows how tidy a team is and how “on it” they are for 80 minutes, Huddersfield and Widnes made the least errors but one team lost and the other won. Similarly, Warrington made the most errors and the Rhinos made the second highest errors but the Wolves drew and the Rhinos won.
It’s not what you do with errors so much but when they happen, if you make 15 errors on say the 5th tackle after catching your own kick then it’s no big deal, just a turn over. If however you make the errors on your own 10 metre line that’s a lot of pressure to absorb.
What does it all mean?
Castleford are now kings of all they survey despite being joint top with a game in hand above Leeds. Castleford score on average 7.14 tries per game Leeds score 3.88, the nearest rival for tries is Wigan at 4.33 tries per game – Thursday should be good then.!
This is in fact Castleford’s joint best ever start to a season (equal to 2011), points for and against is the best it has ever been after 7 rounds, they have a better defence than their promotion season in 2007 (this took some research btw!).
Leeds deserve a mention, they started the league not looking special and after the reality check that was 66-10 and an email from the chairman they have dragged themselves into contention, not quite sure Brian’s assessment of Grand final quality is quite true they have certainly gained some respect back in the last few rounds.
The battle of the bottom 2 again, Warrington got a point and Widnes out of nowhere got a win! Widnes weren’t mentioned much above but that’s because they weren’t amazing but they weren’t poor either so there has been a marked improvement. Warrington did look better this week and taking a strong Hull side to a 22-22 draw is an achievement, now can they push on from this?
All eyes will turn to Wigan and Castleford on Thursday not quite the undefeated clash it looked like it could’ve been earlier in the season, but it’s the top 2 scoring teams in the league going head to head. Elsewhere it’s all done by Friday evening but look out for Hull FC against Salford that should be a good battle. Round 8 you’ve got a lot to live up to!