June 2020

Stat Attack: Defence reigns

The best defensive stats in the NRL.

Last month we had a look at point scorers in the NRL. This time around we’re looking at the players who try to stop those points.

10,000 tackles

Nathan Hindmarsh was the first player to crack the 10,000 tackles mark, finishing his career with 12,150. Although if you ask Brian Fletcher, a good chunk of those were flops. Hindmarsh though made a career out of being the last line of defence, chasing down flying wingers and producing try saving tackles.

Storm captain Cameron Smith joined Hindy before passing him to have his current tackle count sitting above 15,000. He has however played 70 more games than the Eels backrower.

Marathon men

Only two players in NRL history have managed to make more than 70 tackles in a game on three separate occasions. Jake Friend has done it for the Roosters and the aforementioned Hindmarsh has done it as well. Hindy also averaged nearly 50 tackles per game across the length of his career, equating to one tackle every 98 seconds.

Nil-all draw

Nope, it’s not a soccer scoreline. The Newtown Jets and Canterbury Bulldogs played out a 0-0 draw in 1982. It’s the only scoreless game in NRL history. Nine years earlier, in 1973, Newtown won a famous game against the St George Dragons 1-0, while three separate games between 1914 and 1965 finished with a 2-0 scoreline.

Tryless Grand Final

Only two grand finals in NRL history have ended without a try being scored. The 1910 grand final saw Newtown and the Rabbitohs finish 4-4. The 1986 grand final finished 4-2 to Parramatta with Mick Cronin’s boot being the difference between the sides.

Lowest scoring Grand Final

The Balmain Tigers and Rabbitohs played out a 3-0 result in the 1924 grand final. Reg Latta scored the only try of the match. A side being held scoreless in a grand final has only occurred on five more occasions since then; 1959, 1961, 1975, 1978 and 2008.

Fewest points in a season

The South Sydney Rabbitohs hold the record for fewest points conceded in a season with 41. It’s a mark unlikely to ever be beaten given they had only seven opposition teams. Souths were also handed the premiership by default that season in one of the most controversial decisions in rugby league history.

Most teams held scoreless in a season

A more recent record belongs to the Sydney Roosters of 2013 who prevented six teams from registering a point against them during the season.

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