The Bulldogs have a big chance to pull off an unlikely upset by beating first place.
Manly’s poor record during Origin affected rounds has been highlighted.
Meanwhile, the Roosters and Raiders have a strange record without star players James Tedesco and Jack Wighton.
Read below for this week’s NRL Stat Attack!
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Worst v First
The Bulldogs may never get a better opportunity to defeat the Panthers, with Penrith missing six players on Origin duty but the last toppling first upset has proven elusive in recent seasons.
Of the 27 times first has met last in the NRL era, the last placed team has won on just five occasions and for games in the 10th round or after the record slumps to two wins from 18.
Some good news for the Bulldogs is one of those was a State of Origin affected match, with Souths smashing a depleted Broncos side in 2006 34-14. The most recent last beating first match this late in a season was Parramatta over the Storm in round 20 in 2012 — Stephen Kearney’s last game as Eels coach.
Going on those two results Penrith may consider deliberately losing this game as both Storm and Brisbane won the competition in the same year.
All At Sea
Manly has lost its past three games, so will be relieved to be facing an opponent sitting in the bottom half of the ladder. All five of Manly’s wins this season have come against a current bottom eight team and they are one of just three teams with Penrith and Storm to have a perfect record against these sides.
Unlike Penrith and to a lesser extent Storm (for this season at least) the Sea Eagles do not have a great record against the current top eight, with zero wins from seven starts – the only team along with the Titans not to have beaten any of the teams currently in the top eight.
The concern for Manly this week then seems to be their horrible record in Origin affected matches in recent seasons. Manly is the only team since 2016 to lose all five of its matches in an Origin bye round. The Warriors have won seven of their past 10 Origin affected games, however two of those losses have come in their past three games.
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Better Off Ted?
Both the Roosters and Raiders have some big outs for their clash in Canberra on Sunday afternoon, but their results in recent seasons without key players are somewhat surprising.
Since James Tedesco joined the Roosters in 2018, the Roosters have won almost 65 per cent of the games he has played but this record increases to over 90 per cent when he is missing, with the Roosters winning 11 of the 12 games.
Canberra has a similar phenomenon going on with Jack Wighton out of the side, winning six of seven since 2019.
Stat of the Week – Fresh Legs
With Tedesco out of the Roosters side Joey Manu gets to switch to fullback — a position he has revelled in his nine games starting. Manu has won eight from nine starting fullback games, scored six tries and averages over 200 metres and makes 6 tackle busts per game.
It’s his ability to break a tackle which will have the Raiders on high alert – especially late in the game, as he has proven his most dangerous this season in the final quarters of matches.
Fresh Legs (Most Tackle Busts in the final 20 mins)
Joseph Manu — 27
Siosifa Talakai — 21
Cameron Munster — 20
Reece Walsh — 20
Moses Suli — 18
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