Numbers count against Warriors in the end
It was no consolation but there was little in it on the scoreboard or in most of the key statistics when the Warriors lost 22-24 to Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval on Friday night.by NRL
It was no consolation but there was little in it on the scoreboard or in most of the key statistics when the Warriors lost 22-24 to Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval on Friday night.
The fact was the Vodafone Warriors had one of their best nights with their completion rate, finishing 27 of their 33 sets for an 82 per cent strike rate (the same numbers they had against Brisbane and only the second time this season they've topped 80 per cent).
The Tigers had three more sets in possession and completed 30 of them for an 83 per cent success rate.
Line breaks went the Tigers' way - just - at 3-2, missed tackles were similar (30 for the Tigers, 32 for the Vodafone Warriors), the Vodafone Warriors made one more error (8-7), the metres gained number favoured the Tigers slightly (1387-1330), the try count was 4-4, tackle breaks 33-31 to the Tigers and so on.
The Vodafone Warriors had a little more defensive work to do (358-332) and had fewer runs (140-162); given the disparity in the latter figure it said something for the Vodafone Warriors that they were so close to the Tigers in the metres gained category.
As head coach Brian McClennan later noted, it was the split of the halves that told more of a story, though.
In the first half the Vodafone Warriors completed 17 of 21 sets, the Tigers only 11 of 17, enabling the Vodafone Warriors to lead 10-0.
In the second half, the Tigers were flawless in possession completely 19 from 19 while the Vodafone Warriors had only 12 sets and completed 10 of them.
As a consequence key numbers stacked up against them. They had to make 189 tackles, 61 more than the Tigers and, with so much possession, the Tigers had a platform to dominate with their kicking game. In the second half alone, they made 535 metres from 15 kicks, the Vodafone Warriors managing just seven kicks for a gain of 178 metres.
Off the back of the sheer weight of those numbers they went on to score four tries and 24 points. It turned into that sort of a night.
Individually not one Vodafone Warriors forward was able to crack the 100-metre mark, Ben Matulino (95), Jacob Lillyman (91) and Russell Packer (89) going close. The only players to make three figures were Konrad Hurrell with 173 metres from 12 runs - helped significantly by the 60-odd metres he ran for his first try - Manu Vatuvei with 127 from 13 and Bill Tupou with 114 from 13. Most of Vatuvei's work was of the heavy duty variety with five hit-ups, three runs from kick returns and three from first receiver.
Back rower Elijah Taylor was again the defensive workhorse as he made a game-high 46 tackles; he ranks third among all players with 443 tackles so far this season, an average of 40.3 a game (Manly hooker Matt Ballin has made 487 and Sydney Roosters rake Jake Friend has had made 448).
Just behind him was captain Simon Mannering with 44 tackles (350-plus for the season) while Feleti Matei made 31. Mannering complemented his tackling load with 10 runs as well.
Hooker Alehana Mara (27), Lewis Brown (25) and Jacob Lillyman (24) also packed in a heavy defensive work-rate with just one missed tackle each despite all being on the field for about 40 minutes each.
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