Stats Column: Hull’s missed tackles and potent Parcell

 

This is the first of a double bill of the Stats Column looking at the first half of the Easter weekend.

I’m going to start with the big Maundy Thursday derby between Widnes and Warrington. I found this a strangely compelling game from both sides.

Crucially after taking the lead, Widnes then allowed Warrington to turn the screw. I want to throw a couple of factors into what helped the Wolves overturn that early advantage.

On our Loverugbyleague.com podcast I have been critical of the go-forward created by Warrington’s pack; well finally they are getting this right and I put it down to three players.

One is the club skipper and receives regular plaudits, one is more unsung and a guy perhaps not as widely rated by the fans. The third is a man still making his way in the Wolves first team and is now in his second season there.

I am talking about Chris Hill who made 161 metres from 16 carries and did 34 tackles; and George King who carried the ball 15 times, made 98 metres and also contributed 31 tackles. Benjamin Julien produced a set of really good figures from the game too – 27 tackles, 12 carries and 105 metres is a very credible effort from the Frenchman.

Such honest graft sometimes goes unnoticed on the terraces but is especially appreciated by team-mates. Another couple of impressive efforts came from Stefan Ratchford, who made 157 metres and Kurt Gidley who created two of the tries and completed 34 tackles while alternating from main halfback to hooker and back again later in the game.

Brad Dwyer also worked his socks off in defence but the attacking kicking game by Warrington was a different standard. Declan Patton deserves a lot of credit for this and I am now of the opinion that the Wolves are a much better side when he is out there. Opta stats may say that he only put four attacking kicks in but of those three were of excellent quality and heaped pressure on the Vikings.

Warrington have now found a way to win but what of the Vikings?

Rhys Hanbury is certainly starting to find his forward drive again after a testing few weeks. His 17 carries produced 124 metres while youngsters Jay Chapelhow and Jordan Johnstone continue to impress. Johnstone made 40 tackles while Chapelhow added 37 tackles to 18 carries that made 113 metres. Post game Denis Betts also praised the effort of Chris Dean and I have to agree with that assessment. His second half cameo yielded 27 tackles and 8 carries for 62 metres for a very respectable average of 7.75 metres per carry.

It was also great to see Joe Mellor return and he certainly asks questions of a defence – fourteen carries suggest he has lost no confidence from his game. Who knows maybe this, despite defeat, is the turning point. I certainly came away from this game with a number of positives from a Widnes point of view.

Leeds were good against Hull. This game threw some real statistical anomalies into the pot.

Firstly I have never seen a prop forward make just six tackles in a game unless he has only played a few minutes (even Kyle Amor amassed 14 tackles before his Saints dismissal at Wigan). That was all that Mitch Garbutt put in, but rather than being critical, he was a monster in attack for the second game running. He made 137 metres from 15 carries and picked up a try as well!

This game also saw Hull make most missed tackles (49) and fewest team carries (115) this weekend. With so little possession is it any wonder that Leeds were able to inflict serious pain?

If anything this encounter highlighted how important hooker Matt Parcell is becoming. He scored a try and assisted two more in a typically busy performance.

For Hull only Jamie Shaul and skipper Gareth Ellis impressed and this is backed up by the stats. They were the only Hull players to run over 100 metres in the game. The big worry for me looking at this Hull performance though, was how many tackles were missed in the middle of the field.

The table below shows the damage:

Name

Missed Tackles

Liam Watts

7

Scott Taylor

6

Mark Minichiello

5

Albert Kelly

5

Jordan Thompson

4

Marc Sneyd

4

Three of the above players defend in the middle of the field and this area will have to be tightened up as a matter of urgency.

Huddersfield against Catalans was the most one sided seven point victory ever seen according to my chat with James Gordon but the stats appear pretty level which suggests the final 20 minutes when the Giants came back from 28-10 down was almost exclusively Huddersfield.

In fact although the Dragons edged total metres (1290-1256) and carries (175-162), Huddersfield had five players that made 100 metres or more.

In saying this Catalans were impressive at spreading the workload, just look how many players made more than 90 metres for the Dragons (carries are in brackets).

Vincent Duport 93 (15)
Brayden Wiliame 122 (12)
Tony Gigot 110 (14)
Julian Bousquet 94 (14)
Benjamin Garcia 91 (11)
Sam Moa 99 (17)
Krisnan Inu 104 (10)
Iain Thornley 105 (13)

I do think that this Catalans side has found the one thing no statistic can legislate for – heart. They now boast a much improved away form too following two wins in the space of a week.

Keep an eye out for the next Stats Column, focusing on the second round of the Easter weekend.

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