10 BIG STATS

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - 2018 GRAND FINAL -

1

THE PUR­PLE WALL This will be a show­down of the NRL’s two best de­fen­sive teams. These two sides con­cede the fewest points (Roost­ers 14.5, Storm 15.3 per game), line­breaks (Roost­ers 3.1, Storm 3.4) and miss the fewest tack­les (Roost­ers 21.5, Storm 22.6). 2

REF­EREE SMITH Head ref­eree Ger­ard Sut­ton says Mel­bourne skip­per Cameron Smith isn’t given any spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tion. Re­gard­less, the Storm are awarded the most penal­ties in the com­pe­ti­tion with 9.1 per game. They also con­cede the fourth fewest ( 7.7). 3

A FAST START Since 1999, only four teams have gone on to win a grand fi­nal af­ter trail­ing at half­time. This year, the Roost­ers have won 15 of 16 when ahead af­ter 40 min­utes while the Storm have con­verted 13 of 16 half­time leads. 4

LETHAL LEFT EDGE This year 44 of the Roost­ers’ 95 tries have come down their left edge which fea­tures La­trell Mitchell and Daniel Tupou. This is com­pared to just 17 tries be­ing scored through the cen­tre and 34 down the right. 5

THE CRONK EF­FECT Should Cooper Cronk play, he will be­come the first player since Ron Coote in 1965-75 to play in eight grand fi­nals. This is ex­clud­ing Ray Price and Steve Edge who both played eight grand fi­nals, but one was a re­play. 6

THE ROOKIE HALVES This con­test could come down to a pair of rookie halves. Mel­bourne’s Brodie Croft has just 16 NRL games un­der his belt – mak­ing him the least ex­pe­ri­enced grand fi­nal half­back since Shaun John­son in 2011 ( 15 games). Should Sean O’Sul­li­van (one game) re­place Cronk, he will be­come the least-ex­pe­ri­enced half­back in grand fi­nal history. 7

THE FERGO 5000 Blake Fer­gu­son has this year run for 4878 me­tres – more than any other player. He has a chance to be­come just the third player in history to run for 5000m in a sea­son be­hind Roger Tuiv­asa-Sheck ( 2015) and Ja­son Tau­malolo ( 2017). 8

THE BIG MEN The Roost­ers have run for an av­er­age 1437m, the sec­ond most of any side this sea­son. Jared Waerea-Har­g­reaves, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, and Boyd Cord­ner all av­er­age more than 100m a game. The Storm pack con­cede the least me­tres ( 1283m). 9

STORM’S STAGE Craig Bel­lamy’s men are in their third straight grand fi­nal and can be­come the first team in a uni­fied com­pe­ti­tion to go back-to- back since Bris­bane in 1992-93. 10

THE RECORD Go­ing back to 2015, the Storm have dom­i­nated the Roost­ers hav­ing won six of eight meet­ings. They have also won five of their last six clashes.

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