Hurry, Hurry! Castleford win by less than a converted try (again), the Champions draw and the top of the table battle goes to the team at the top. Round 8 had it all but let’s take a look at the stats…
Warrington Wolves again knitting together being able to make metres with being able to score tries this season and we see them bag the most tries this round with 6 against Widnes. Both Wakefield and Castleford found conditions hard going with both teams only managing 1 try but it was Castleford’s game management and kicking skills that saw the win go their way.
As for the season so far Saints head the pack with 37 tries, an unstoppable try scoring outfit, what is interesting is where teams rank compared to their table position – see the bellow table…
Although ‘matches played’ is all over the place, it’s interesting to see that just scoring tries isn’t the only thing you need to be good at.
Showing just how much of a defensive game Wakefield vs Castleford was Wakefield top the highest tackle count with 375 tackles, Castleford are behind them with just ten tackles less at 365, both sides are not typically high tackling sides.
Both Hull sides are at the bottom end of this metric with Hull KR tackling just 278 times and Hull FC tackling just 284 times, that’s what happens in a 50+ point game.
We don’t normally look into this but this round it shows a few warning sides for sides struggling for form. Catalans missed 40 tackles, Giants missed 39 tackles, and Widnes missed 38 tackles. To put that into perspective the league average is currently 28 missed tackles per game, that’s something those needs need to get a grip on.
Saints lighting up the stats sheets this round making over 1600 metres (1605m) against Wigan and also making 8m per carry on average is impressive stuff. At the other end of things, Castleford only made 6.20m per carry and Wakefield was just ahead with 6.24m per carry, if you need any indicator of how different weather conditions alter how the game is played look no further than this example.
Hull KR managed to break through Hull FC’s defence to make 9 clean breaks the most in this round only matched by Leeds Rhinos against Huddersfield also with 9 clean breaks. Struggling to break through were Wakefield and Castleford both with 1 clean break each.
Who’s not got a grip? Wakefield it would seem, making a blood vessel inducing 15 errors in one game. Perhaps telling its own story Castleford made just 7 errors in the same game, however, the lowest error count was Wigan with just 6. Wigan might find themselves feeling unlucky not to have been closer to Saints as they played a precise game and made 4 fewer errors than Saints on the day.
Hull FC notch up another red card to bring their total to 2 with one yellow, although that’s the highest red card count so far this season it is Salford that have a yellow card count of 5 which is a card every other game! Wakefield are still the only team with no cards this season can they last past round 9?
What have we learnt?
Tries are not everything, you may have a high scoring team but if they can’t defend, can’t kick, lack discipline, tackle too much and more factors than we record here then it means very little.
Saints still rule, being able to switch on magic at the drop of a hat. Wigan are not far from that quality. Warrington you could argue are enjoying an inflated position and maybe more like 6th once everyone is on level matches. It is then Castleford and Leeds chasing down the two teams from the other side of the pennies, can they catch them?
In round 9…
Castleford look to peg back another team in front of them in the table in the shape of Warrington, Hull FC and Wakefield should be a tight affair but to be honest the rest I doubt you’d get amazing odds for predicting the winners, wins for Leeds, Wigan, Saints and Giants look very likely but this is Rugby League and anything can happen. See you next time to look through round 9.