The Intrust Super Premiership NSW hit another intriguing turn in Round 5 with a number of upsets; three of the six matches resulted in wins to the team positioned lower on the ladder. While the Warriors, Roos and Mounties continued to asset their dominance, defeating the Sea Eagles, Illawarra and Magpies respectively, the previously-undefeated Bears fell to their first loss as the Wests Tigers achieved their first win – a feat replicated by the Knights over the Jets. Finally, the Bulldogs put forward their best win of the year as they defeated the Panthers.
The most surprising of the results certainly came at Chatswood Oval on Saturday as the Wests Tigers snuck past the Bears 18-16. It represented a remarkable turnaround for the Tigers, who had conceded far more metres, points and missed more tackles than any other team in the opening three weeks. With 50-50 possession but 1,700 metres, the Tigers edged out their opponents, who made an unprecedented 17 errors in the match – the most of the round and something coach Ben Gardiner will not be happy with.
In the area of discipline, Newcastle was the week’s worst with 13 penalties conceded, but it didn’t stop them from defeating Newtown – an unexpected result given the Knights’ previous form and the Jets’ round-high 55 per cent share of possession. Wentworthville conceded just four penalties and made seven errors to enjoy a 79 per cent completion rate, alongside Canterbury-Bankstown as the best of the round, but only the latter came away with two competition points.
The most dominant team of Round 5 was clearly the Wyong Roos, who bounced back from a shock loss to the Panthers to defeat Illawarra 48-14 – by far the biggest margin of the weekend. The Roos made more metres (1,784 metres) and fewer tackles (264) than any other team, while their 11 line-breaks were more than any side had achieved in a game this year. Their Illawarra opponents, meanwhile, missed a round-high 40 tackles, alongside Mounties in worrying signs for the 2016 grand finalists.
While the Magpies had Mounties’ measure in a number of statistical areas on Saturday, the game was heavily dependent on the halves’ performance with the boot; the sides had the two most kick metres of the weekend with Mounties narrowly winning that contest 577 metres to 565 metres. In defence, the Panthers completed the most tackles (407) and the Warriors missed the fewest (19), while the Sea Eagles’ woes continued due to just 1,323 metres made – fewer than anyone else.
View the full stats reports from each of the games below - and stay tuned for the Round 5 Team of the Week, to be released on NSWRL.com.au later today.