Round 4 produced our first few glimpses of consistency amongst a number of clubs with the Roosters and Storm remaining unbeaten while the Dragons and Cowboys continued their strong starts to the season.
At the other end of the table, the Knights suffered a 40-0 loss which was reminiscent of their 2016 form, and the Tigers lost again after a strong start. The Sharks and Panthers had good wins while the Sea Eagles continue to be the surprise packet after they belted a disinterested Bulldogs side.
Some big performances in Round 4 by the most penalised players has seen a small gap start to open up, with Cronulla’s James Maloney and Manly’s Brenton Lawrence taking over the top spot on the penalty pullers leaderboard.
Penalty Pullers Leaderboard
8 – Brenton Lawrence (MAN)
8 – James Maloney (CRO)
7 – Paul Gallen (CRO)
5 – Nathan Brown (PAR)
5 – Andrew Fifita (CRO)
5 – Blake Green (MAN)
5 – Ryan Hoffman (WAR)
5 – Ryan James (GCT)
5 – David Klemmer (CBY)
5 – Mitchell Pearce (SYD)
5 – Beau Scott (PAR)
5 – Iosia Soliola (CAN)
5 – Josh Starling (NEW)
5 – Johnathan Thurston (NQL)
5 – Jake Trbojevic (MAN)
Goalkickers had a drop in success in Round 4. After kicking at almost 87% in Round 3, they came back to a still very good 77.97%. At the same time last year the goalkickers steady improvement continued when they converted 85.25% of attempts.
On the perfect goalkickers ladder (where all attempted goals are kicked every week), there were again no changes in results. Aside from the Cowboys-Broncos reversed result in Round 2, the rest of the ladder is starting to align more closely with the actual ladder.
Perfect Goalkickers Ladder
Milestones achieved in Round 4
The 100th premiership match played on a Thursday took place last week when the Roosters beat Souths. The first game was in 1920 when the Roosters beat the soon to be defunct Annandale side 42-10. The game was played at the SCG number 2 ground and kicked off at 11:15am, and saw Wally Messenger score 25 points from 3 tries and 8 goals.
Darius Boyd (Brisbane) scored his 75th try to bring up 300 points in his career. Boyd has scored 45 tries in 120 games for the Broncos, 13 tries in 69 games for the Dragons and 17 tries in 62 games for the Knights.
Andrew McCullough (Brisbane) played his 200th career game on the weekend. After starting his career in 2008 he has played at least 21 games in each of his seasons since. He holds the unique record of being the first player to play in the NRL that was born in the 1990’s.
Brett Morris (Canterbury) ran out for his 200th career game on the weekend in the Bulldogs miserable effort against Manly. He made his debut in 2006 for the Dragons where he played for 9 seasons and a total of 169 games before shifting to the Bulldogs to link up with his twin brother Josh in 2015. He has played 31 games at Belmore.
Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly) played brilliantly in his 150th game for Manly on the weekend. He began his career with Manly back in 2011 where he has stayed ever since. He also played for Manly in the World Club Challenge in 2012.
Daniel Tupou (Sydney) played his 100th career game last Thursday. The winger made his debut for the Roosters in 2012 and also played in the 2014 World Club Challenge.
Gareth Widdop (St.George-Illawarra) Brought up his 500th career point for the Dragons when he kicked 5 goals in the win over the Warriors. He’s become just the third player to reach the milestone for the club behind Jamie Soward and Mark Riddell.
Simon Mannering (Warriors) Broke the record for most games by a player at the Warriors, when his 262nd game on the weekend surpassed the mark of 261 games set by club legend Stacey Jones.
Michael Gordon (Sydney) scored a try and 4 goals in Thursday night’s win against Souths to bring up 1400 career points. He scored 798 points at Penrith from 2006-12 and then a neat 400 in his three years at the Sharks. He then scored 162 at Parramatta last year and has already amassed 42 points this season, despite having his worst season with the boot so far. He has 82 tries and 537 goals in 207 career games.
Milestones within reach in Round 5
Jarrod Croker (Canberra) returned from injury last week and scored a try and 7 goals in the Raiders’ Round 3 annihilation of the Tigers. He now has 99 tries for the Raiders and needs one more to join Jason Croker and Brett Mullins in the 100 club for the Green Machine.
Cameron Smith (Melbourne) last week equalled the competition record for most wins in the premiership with Darren Lockyer on 237. If his Storm side can get a win this weekend against Penrith he’ll hold a record that could become very hard to surpass.
Anthony Milford (Brisbane) will play his 100th career game this week when the Broncos take on the Bulldogs on Thursday night. Milford began his career at the Raiders in 2013, playing for two years and 42 games before he moved to the Broncos where he has played a further 57 matches. He’s also played 4 tests for Samoa.
Aidan Sezer (Canberra) the Raiders half will play his 100th game this weekend when he runs out for the Raiders. After making his debut with the Titans back in 2012 whom he played 71 games for, he switched to Canberra last season and has played 28 games for the Green Machine. Last year he also played his first rep game when he ran out for City.
Chris Heighington (Cronulla) the veteran forward will reach the immense 300 games milestone this weekend in what will be his 99th game for the Sharks. He played 201 games for the Tigers from 2003-12 before moving to the Shire in 2013. He’s also played 3 tests for England and the unique feat of winning two premierships with two clubs who had never previously won a title.
Leeson Ah Mau (St.George-Illawarra) the big forward will run out for the 100th time in the Red V this weekend. He made his debut in 2009 with the Warriors before spending two seasons at the Cowboys. In 2012 he moved to the Dragons and has become a regular in their forward pack. He’s also played 10 Tests for Samoa.