As the Intrust Super Premiership NSW reached its halfway point, the competition continued to throw up plenty of surprises; the previously 10th-placed Knights shared points with the second-placed Warriors, the 11th-placed Sea Eagles fell short of Mounties in a high-quality match, while the ladder-leading Roos got out of jail against the Magpies in a remarkable comeback. Illawarra recorded the weekend’s biggest win with a 28-point demolition of the Wests Tigers, while the Bulldogs emerged victorious from a dour contest with the Panthers. The Jets and Bears, meanwhile, enjoyed a well-deserved week off.
The defending premiers, of course, were the most dominant team of Round 13, registering the most metres (1,866), line-breaks (seven) and possession (59 per cent), while being forced to make the fewest tackles (253). Illawarra rose into fourth position as they continue to build after a slow start to the season, while the Tigers showed signs of their disastrous start to 2017 with a round-high 40 missed tackles and just 1,141 metres made.
The Knights’ draw with the Warriors was, remarkably, the fifth of the season to date – after just one in season 2016, which came in Round 1 of that year. Even more surprising is it’s the fifth for the Warriors alone, who must be growing tired of sharing the points with their opposition. The Knights had their best game of 2017 to date, missing just 12 tackles in one of the year’s best defensive performances. Newcastle did top the penalty count for Round 13, however, and will hope to concede less than 12 times next week.
When the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles hosted Mounties at Lottoland, many were expecting an easy Mounties victory, but the Sea Eagles put up a good fight as the lead changed multiple times in the high-scoring match. With 74 points scored, attack definitely dominated the contest, as only six errors were made in the 80 minutes. Two errors and three penalties conceded by Mounties is seriously impressive; if they can consistently replicate those figures they should feature deep into this year’s finals series.
That match was in complete contrast to the Bulldogs’ game against the Panthers at ANZ Stadium later that afternoon, which saw 24 errors in total and a generally low-quality game of Rugby League. The Bulldogs, whose 14 errors were more than any other team in Round 13, earned their 12-point lead after just 15 minutes, with only a Zac Woolford penalty goal and Christian Crichton try to speak of in the remainder of the contest. Crichton was among the top metre eaters on the weekend (228 metres), second only to Illawarra’s Jacob Host (231 metres).
Wrapping up Round 13 were the Magpies and Roos, featuring an impressive comeback for the competition favourites. Wentworthville led 28-10 with just 16 minutes remaining, before Wyong piled on 25 unanswered points to win 35-28. It was another heartbreaking loss for the Magpies, who have now given up leads against the competition’s top two teams in successive games.
Individually, Matt Eisenhuth topped the tackle count as the Tigers maintained just 41 per cent possession; the lock forward’s high defensive workload is one good sign for the side this year.
View the full stats reports from each of the games below - and stay tuned for the Round 13 Team of the Week, to be released on NSWRL.com.au later today.