The tables turned in many respects in Round 10, with teams returning from the representative weekend with a fresh start for the remainder of the season. The round got off to a thrilling start as the Panthers and Warriors couldn’t be split at Pepper Stadium, scoring 26 points apiece; the Warriors overcame a 22-6 deficit early in the second half to come away with their second draw of the season. While the Panthers forwards certainly had the upper hand with 50 metres average set distance compared to the Warriors’ 39, the visitors once again managed to defend their way to a pleasing result. Dylan Edwards was in fine form again for the Panthers; the fullback ran for a round-high 242 metres.
One of the upsets of the year came in the shape of a Newcastle Knights victory over Mounties at Cessnock Sports Ground, beating their opponents 24-18. Trent Hodkinson steered the ship fantastically and the Knights enjoyed a round-high 55 per cent of possession, 84 per cent completions and 604 kick metres, while Mounties came up with an uncharacteristic 50 missed tackles. Elsewhere, the Bulldogs played out yet another low-scoring, grinding game at Belmore Sports Ground – their third in four rounds – but this time came away with the victory over the Wests Tigers. Much like their NRL side, the Bulldogs’ defence has been relatively strong (best in the competition) while they’ve struggled with attack (ninth-best). The home side made more metres (1,796) than any other team in Round 10, also conceding the most penalties along with the Panthers, Mounties and Bears. For the Tigers, lock Matt Eisenhuth put forward a monumental 58-tackle performance in defence, second only to North Sydney’s Cheyne Whitelaw, with 59.
The weekend’s most dominant performance once again went to ladder leaders the Roos, who picked up where they left off prior to the formation of the Wyong-dominated Intrust Super Premiership NSW Residents. Defeating Blacktown 40-18, they made the most line-breaks (eight) and continued to impress at home – they are undefeated at Morry Breen Oval this year.
Sunday held two more big games, including the highly-anticipated Frank Hyde Shield clash between the Bears and Jets taking place at North Sydney Oval. North Sydney, largely thanks to Whitelaw, made more tackles than any other team (345), while rivals Newtown came up with the fewest missed tackles (21) in a high-quality affair. Ultimately, it was an Edrick Lee intercept try – one of several he’s had this year – which sealed the Jets victory.
The final match-up was contested between the Magpies and Illawarra at Ringrose Park, won by the defending premiers 32-12. The sides were even in possession, discipline and defence, but six Illawarra line-breaks earned them the two competition points.
View the full stats reports from each of the games below - as well as the stats report from the previous weekend's Residents clash. Stay tuned for the Round 10 Team of the Week, to be released on NSWRL.com.au later in the week.