Saturday 17 March 2018 / 05:16 PM


With the State of Origin period well and truly upon us, it’s time to delve into the data, and find out what the figures have to say about every contest across the field.

Fullbacks – James Tedesco (NSW) v Darius Boyd (QLD)

Both players have played 11 games with Boyd notching 2 tries to Tedesco’s 1. Tedesco has made a whopping 725 more metres than Boyd, as well as three times as many line breaks (6 to 2), almost 50 more tackle breaks (85 to 36) and over double the amount of kick return metres. Boyd though has 5 try assists to Tedesco’s 4, a paltry 3 errors which is 5 times less than his counterpart, 1 line break assist more and has conceded 6 less penalties.

Wingers – Blake Ferguson & Brett Morris (NSW) v Corey Oates & Dane Gagai (QLD)

The Blues’ wingers have scored 9 tries to the Maroons’ 6; Ferguson with 6 and Oates with 5 are the leaders for both sides. Oates is well clear of the field for metres gained, 468 metres clear of the next best, Gagai. Only 99 metres separates the Blues’ wingers and Gagai. Ferguson leads for line breaks, with 9. Gagai has the most offloads (10) and tackle breaks (57), Oates leads for runs, metres, hit ups, kick return metres and has conceded the least number of penalties (0). Morris dominates for dummy half runs with 42, Gagai runs second to him with 25, while the other two haven’t even reached 5 yet for the year.

Centres – Josh Dugan & Jarryd Hayne (NSW) v Will Chambers & Justin O’Neill (QLD)

The makeshift Blues centres have both been troubled by injuries this year, as has Justin O’Neill who is yet to hit any solid form. Chambers and Hayne both have 3 tries, with Dugan crossing twice. O’Neill is still yet to score this year. Chambers has racked up 1235 metres, with Dugan’s 1076 helped by the fact he’s been at fullback all year for the Dragons. Hayne and O’Neill have close to half the metres of Dugan. Chambers also leads for line breaks, try assists, tackles made and line break assists. Dugan tops this group for tackle breaks, with 43, which is 9 more than Hayne, Chambers and O’Neill combined.

Halves – James Maloney & Mitchell Pearce (NSW) v Anthony Milford & Cooper Cronk (QLD)

Origin debutant Milford has been in great form all year and this is supported by some of his stats. He’s top of this group of four for runs, metres, equal first for try assists (with Pearce), tackle breaks (46, compared to second placed Pearce on 24) and line break assists. Pearce is the best when it comes to line breaks, tackles made and number of kicks. Cronk is the best defender, sticking to 93.18% of his attempted tackles. Pearce is second at 90.04% with Maloney and Milford a long way back, under 76%. Maloney tops all the wrong fields: penalties conceded (22, compared to 18 for the other three combined) and missed tackles (68, Milford is next worst with 39).

Hookers – Nathan Peats (NSW) v Cameron Smith (QLD)

Unsurprisingly, the legendary Storm, Maroons and Australian Test captain is streets ahead of his younger counterpart who will be making his Origin debut. Peats averages more try assists, picking up 4 from 5 games, while Smith has 4 from his 11 games. But aside from that, Smith runs rings around his opponent, beating him for runs, metres, kicks made, offloads, tackles made, tackle breaks and dummy half runs, while also having less missed tackles, handling errors and penalties per game.

Props – Aaron Woods & Andrew Fifita (NSW) v Dylan Napa & Nate Myles (QLD)

It’s fair to say that form alone has the Blues’ starting front rowers well clear of the Maroons’ big men. Woods and Fifita both average 54 minutes per game while Napa (47.44) and Myles (34.90) are considerably less. While this means that Woods and Fifita have more runs, hit ups and metres, Myles leads all the forwards in this game for metres per run, averaging 10.53. Woods (9.43) and Fifita (9.39) are well clear of Napa (8.43). Fifita is the only prop to have broken the line, having done it twice. Woods and Fifita have made 43 offloads between them, while Napa and Myles have just 4. The Blues props also have better tackling stats. Fifita has made 96.62% of tackles attempted, Woods 94.86% while Myles has 90.55% and Napa is at 86.10%, the worst of all the forwards in this game, and the only forward to have less than 90%. It’s Fifita again who dominates the field in tackle breaks, with 46. Napa runs second with 10, Woods on 8 and Myles with 1. Fifita also has a line break assist to his credit, which the others don’t.

Back-row – Josh Jackson, Boyd Cordner & Tyson Frizell (NSW) v Josh Papalii, Matt Gillett & Josh McGuire (QLD)

A much closer battle here. Cordner has the most runs, second for metres gained, line breaks and hit ups, making him the best of the Blues; bunch. Papalii though has been better and is the Maroons’ best. He leads the field for metres gained, line breaks, offloads, tackle breaks, line break assists, metres per run and tackling effectiveness.

Bench Utilities – Jack Bird (NSW) v Michael Morgan (QLD)

Bird has played at centre and fullback this year and is capable of covering five-eighth and the back-row. Morgan has played exclusively in the halves at club and Test level for Australia this year. Morgan has made 5 line breaks to 2 and 7 try assists to 4. Bird has made 40 tackle breaks to Morgan’s 29 and 4 line break assists to 2. Morgan has been the better defender, making 83.24% of his attempted tackles compared to Bird who is at 76.97%.

Bench Forwards – David Klemmer, Wade Graham, Jake Trbojevic (NSW) v Sam Thaiday, Aidan Guerra & Jacob Lillyman (QLD)

As far as the stats are concerned, all three of the NSW bench forward are better than their Queensland opponents. Trbojevic is the star of them all, leading the way in offloads, tackles and tackle effectiveness (96.90%) while running very close to the leaders for runs, metres gained, line breaks, hits ups and line break assists. Klemmer heads the stats for runs, metres, metres per run and hit ups.

Overall Best

1 – Tedesco (NSW) def Boyd

2 – Oates (QLD) def Ferguson

3 – Chambers (QLD) def Dugan

4 – Hayne (NSW) def O’Neill

5 – Gagai (QLD) def Morris

6 – Milford (QLD) def Maloney

7 – Pearce (NSW) def Cronk

8 – Woods (NSW) def Napa

9 – Smith (QLD) def Peats

10 – Fifita (NSW) def Myles

11 – Papalii (QLD) def Jackson

12 – Cordner (NSW) def Gillett

13 – McGuire (QLD) def Frizell

14 – Morgan (QLD) def Bird

15 – Trbojevic (NSW) def Lillyman

16 – Klemmer (NSW) def Thaiday

17 – Graham (NSW) def Guerra


NSW (9 players) def QLD (8 players)


The Blues dominate Queensland in the props and with their bench forwards. Queensland’s backs are their strong point, as is their starting back row. This would suggest that they have a strategy to play wide of the ruck while NSW will be aiming to rip right through the middle.

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About the author

Andrew Ferguson

A rugby league historian and stats buff – most notably as the brains behind the phenomenal Rugby League Project resource – Melbourne-based Andrew has written extensively for Rugby League Review and the Men of League magazine, and is a valued addition to CBS’s rugby league stable.

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