Head to head: Stat toppers and tackle leaders

The Newcastle Knights will be looking to get one back after an excruciating one-point loss against the Dragons in Round 4.

There’s plenty of factors to consider for this encounter, which heads to the regional town of Mudgee on Sunday.

While the Knights don’t have a record to boast about against the Dragon, only 11 wins of the 39 played, they’re on a three-game winning roll with momentum on their side.

The Dragons on the other hand are coming off a disappointing loss to the Warriors after some second half woes.

The matchup this weekend will be positively drool-worthy, featuring some of the NRL’s best kicking metre specialists this season.

Pearce v Hunt

On the stats front, these two are smashing it.

Mitchell Pearce should take a bow, featuring in a number of top five spots across the NRL… first for all kicks at 128, second for line break assists and third for kick metres at a whopping 3201.

I wouldn’t count out Ben Hunt who is sneaking up on Pearce in the kick metres, tallying fourth in the NRL at 2937.

Not only do they have three tries each, but these stellar halfbacks also like to help out a team mate or two, with five try assists a piece.

Besides five more tackle breaks from Hunt, it’s hard to split the pair, who also both have 82 per cent efficiency in the tackle department.  

The only thing Pearce might have on Hunt is his form in the last three games. The Knights no. 7 has played out some outstanding performances on the field.

Fingers crossed the captain continues to ride that wave of momentum.

Saifiti v Graham

Plenty of big hits all round from these imposing forwards.

There are the obvious differences between the two…. ten years his senior, Graham has notched up 100 more NRL games to his name.

Daniel Saifiti may have played a limited 292 minutes compared to Graham’s 511 on field this season, but the big Fijian has still crunched some note-worthy numbers.

Saifiti has made an impressive 644 run metres and 202 post contact metres, while Graham at 906 and 232 respectively.

One department where the veteran Englishman does shine is his tackle work rate. Second highest for the Dragons at 350 and 92 per cent efficiency, Graham is a valuable contributor.

But the young Knight is putting in his say with 158 tackles at 91 per cent efficiency. He also managed three tackle breaks… hard to do as a big man.

Let’s see how this plays out!

Levi v McInnes

This matchup will have you hooked… with some fast paced go forward from the two no. 9s.

Cameron McInnes has played 143 minutes more than Danny Levi so far this season and has racked up a few more points on the stats sheet.

Third in the league for receipts and first in the NRL for tackles at 429, McInnes is getting through a mammoth work load.

Levi is doing his bit too, recording third place in the league for dummy half runs and a respectable 334 tackles at 90 per cent efficiency.

The pair have two line breaks and two try assists a piece but McInnes takes the cake with two tries and a try save. Levi is yet to find the line.