19 Apr 2021

Stats breakdown: round 3

It was a weekend of records in round 3 of Betfred Super League, beginning with Ben Crooks scoring the fastest try in Super League history on Friday Night. That was followed by Hull FC and Warrington Wolves ending in a draw after golden point - the first time it has happened since golden point was introduced. And in that same contest, Hull FC's Danny Houghton made a record number of tackles in a rugby league match since opta stats began in 2003 - making 85 tackles and missing none during a gruelling 90 minute contest.

Mikolaj Oledzki was mightily impressive in a losing side on Thursday Night – the prop forward played the full 80 minutes for the Rhinos and clocked some hugely impressive stats. He ran for 188 metres from 22 carries and made 44 tackles in their round three contest – filling the void left in the Rhinos pack after Zane Tetevano’s suspension.

The introduction of Jackson Hastings to the Warriors side in the past two rounds in Super League has improved them tenfold. He gave another accomplished performance against the Rhinos, controlling the Warriors attack and helping them maintain their 100% start to the season. Hastings scored a try and set up two more, whilst he made 15 kicks in general play for 525 metres – more than the entire Rhinos team kicked - an integral part of the Warriors territorial dominance.

Hastings is a high-quality player – his rugby IQ and ability to direct troops around the pitch is matched with an untethered desire to be involved in everything. He constantly wants his hands on the ball and always makes himself available around the ruck and on the edge. Despite playing one less game than most of the Warriors squad, he sits second in attacking touches (169) – behind Sam Powell – who, as a hooker, is constantly involved in the play. The speculation of a move back to Australia and the subsequent announcement that he’s leaving at seasons end could have disrupted the Warriors and in particular Hastings on his return – but his form so far in 2021 has been impeccable.

Young Jack Welsby continues to impress after his Grand Final heroics last season as he produced another eye-catching display on Friday against Wakefield. Whether he's filling in at full-back or centre, Welsby looks like a seasoned member of the St Helens squad and a key contributor to their success in the opening three rounds. Playing in the centres on Friday he scored a try, set up two, made 149 metres from 19 carries, had seven tackle busts and 1 clean break. There will continue to be debate around what his best position is - whether that be full back or centre - but he is an exceptionally exciting talent. 

Castleford Tigers have made an impressive start to the 2021 campaign with three wins from three - their team stats a reflection of their endeavour early in the year. Daryl Powell’s side lead the way in tries scored (22), metres made (6431), tackle busts (173), clean breaks (30) and offloads (50). The Tigers have lived up to their ‘classy Cas’ tag in this seasons competition and could be real contenders to break their Grand Final duck. It would be a fitting ending to Daryl Powell’s coaching tenure at Castleford before he moves to new pastures at the Wolves in 2022.

There have been a number of standout performers for Cas in their opening three games – Paul McShane, Jake Trueman, Oliver Holmes and Jordan Turner are just a handful of players who have impressed so far. Against the Centurions on Friday, winger Derrell Olpherts starred for the Tigers with two tries, 241 metres from 20 carries, nine tackle busts and two clean breaks.

Olpherts stats highlight the development of the modern day winger and their important role in attack. Gone are the days when wingers sole purpose was to score tries - now, arguably their most important job is getting their team on the front foot during attacking sets, particularly out of yardage. Hull KR's Ryan Hall spoke about how his contribution scoring tries following their round one defeat against the Dragons paled in comparison to the importance of making metres and helping his team get down the field with ball in hand.

Hull FC’s Danny Houghton proved once again why he is one of the most clinical defenders in Super League after a monumental display during the black and whites extra time draw against Warrington. Houghton made an unprecedented 85 tackles - 67 of those in normal time – missing none and playing the full 90-minutes in the middle third of the pitch. 

His freakish effort is no fluke – he has been awarded the top tackler award in Super League on five separate occasions – as well as being included five times in the top 10 highest individual tackles made during the Super League era. In 2021, Houghton has played every minute (250) of Hull FC’s first three Super League fixtures and sits top of the tackle charts with a colossal 177 tackles.

Keeping with Hull FC, co-captain Marc Sneyd is yet to miss a goal kick in the opening three rounds of Super League. Sneyd is 13 from 13 after round three, maintaining his 100% record with two conversions and a penalty goal during the black and whites game against the Wolves on Sunday.