Stats Pack: Leigh Centurions

SL.Rd12.Rhinos v Leigh.Thurs 1st July2021. © MATTHEW MERRICK PHOTOGRAPHY

Tonight sees Leeds Rhinos travel to Leigh Sports Village for the first time since 2017 to take on the newly promoted Leigh Centurions in round 19 of the Betfred Super League, kick off 8pm.

Before the teams run out, here are some of the key stats, figures and facts about both Richard Agar and Kurt Haggerty’s sides.


Team Head to Head

Having both suffered defeats in round 18, Leigh and Leeds can get back to winning ways in tonight’s clash; it would be Leigh’s first win of the season if they do beat the Rhinos.

Historically, Leigh are seeking their first win against Leeds since an 18-6 Stones Bitter Championship victory at Hilton Park in February 1988. Leeds have won 17 of the last 18 meetings between the clubs since then, with the sides also fighting out a 12-12 draw at Hilton Park on November 1992. Leeds are also undefeated in their last nine away meetings with Leigh, having won eight and drawn one, with the Centurions’ last home victory against Leeds was that same February 1988 win.

This season, although they are bottom of the league, out of every Super League team the Centurions rank eleventh in points scored (246) ahead of Salford (243) (Leeds are in fifth with 398). Ryan Brierley has been a leading light for Kurt Heggarty’s side in 2021 with 70 points scored (most by a Leigh player), four try assists (fourth by a Leigh player) and when you add his tries, assists and involvements together, he has 11 (the most in Leigh). He is unavailable for this clash so it will be down to half backs Joe Mellor and Ben Reynolds (who are Leigh’s top try assisters this season) to create opportunities for experienced Super League outside backs Matty Russell and Junior Sa’u.

The Rhinos have continued to dominate possession (third in SL) and territory (second in SL) so far in 2021 but they have the worst set completion and the most errors in the league. In attack, only Warrington make more metres per set than Leeds do, thanks to the eagerness of Konrad Hurrell, Tom Briscoe, Mikolaj Oledzki and Matt Prior to get forward (all four are in Leeds’ top five players for total run metres this season); Hurrell and Oledzki also lead the Rhinos in metres made post contact too.

The back lines for the two sides make the most metres out of any group on the field during a match (Leeds’ making 113.8 while Leigh’s make 96.2). The impact of Leeds’ bench is also not to be underrated either.

In metres made during a game, the Rhinos’ substitutes make 69.4 metres in attack and in defence, Brad Dwyer and James Donaldson, who have played most games in 2021 from the bench, are in Leeds’ top five tacklers. Cameron Smith, who has returned to the side following injury in recent weeks, also has one of the highest tackle efficiencies in Richard Agar’s squad (92.1%).


Leigh’s Top Performers

Tries

Ryan Brierley

7 Tries (20th in SL)

Tackles

Ben Hellewell

487 (13th in SL)

Attacking Kicks

Joe Mellor

30 (16th in SL)

Errors

Iain Thornley

16 Errors (17th in SL)

Missed Tackles

Liam Hood

55 Missed Tackles (3rd in SL)


Key Head to Head

Two wingers that have extensive experience in Super League and are two of their club’s top statistical performers this season are Matty Russell and Tom Briscoe.

Russell, who played the majority of his career with Warrington Wolves, has been lethal alongside Brierley and Junior Sa’u this season. The trio are among Leigh’s top five try scorers this season (Russell with three tries) while the winger has also surpassed 100 metres in all but three games this season (St Helens, Huddersfield and Hull FC). Against Leeds, he was the first try scorer and finished the game with 18 carries for 143 metres. On his return to action against Hull KR, only forward James Bell made more carries than Russell and his 196 metres was the most made by any player on the field.

Against Leigh Briscoe assisted three tries over the 80 minutes, most of which were for winger partner Jack Broadbent, and only made seven runs totalling at 107 metres made. He also made a line break and assisted two breaks through the Centurions’ defence. In terms of the season, he is in Leeds’ top three try scorers and assisters and also leads the Rhinos in carries (13th most in SL). In terms of the Super League competition, he is one of eight outside backs that is in the top ten line breakers and has the most carries out of any Rhinos player.


Stats Standout from Round 18: Leigh Centurions

In the six point loss to Hull KR, centre Junior Sa’u went head to head with Rovers’ outside backs and managed to match his opposite number in Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

His combination with Russell on the right wing has been dangerous but the signing of Jack Logan saw Heggarty move his new signing alongside Russell and Sa’u onto the left side with Craig Mullen. The move proved to work as the centre scored two tries; helping the Centurions get on the board first and also giving them the lead on 58 minutes, only for Tony Smith’s side to come back and take the win. Sa’u also posted the second most carries and metres (both behind Matty Russell). He also made one of the highest metres post tackle on the field, behind Russell, Kane Linnett and George Lawler.

If the centre adds a try to his record this week against the Rhinos, he will hit 100 career tries. Sa’u scored a combined 27 tries in the NRL for Newcastle Knights and Melbourne Storm before moving to Super League in 2014 with Salford. He added 59 tries to his career total there and currently has five for Leigh. He also scored eight tries while on international duty with New Zealand.


Stats Standout from Round 18: Leeds Rhinos

In Leeds’ defeat to Castleford last Friday, Rob Lui was the Rhinos’ stand out player after he returned from a hamstring injury.

In his best statistical performance this season, Lui completed the full eighty minutes and was the first scorer for Leeds against the Tigers; his second try of the season. As the Rhinos lost Liam Sutcliffe for the second half, Lui took over as marshall in the halves and finished the game with 17 carries, 159 metres and 24 tackles, which is more than both of Castleford’s half backs Gareth O’Brien (2 carries, 14 metres and 31 tackles) and Danny Richardson (3 carries, ten metres, and 19 tackles).

For the Rhinos, he was only behind Ash Handley, Kruise Leeming and Cam Smith in attacking metrics and his 24 tackles was the most made by a Leeds back on the field.

He also added five tackle busts and two linebreaks, one offload and three kicks to try and motivate Leeds down the field.


Player Milestones

Joe Mellor

Leigh half back Joe Mellor can surpass 150 Super League appearances tonight. Most of Mellor’s Super League games came during a six year spell at Widnes but he also made a handful of appearances for Harlequins, Wigan Warriors, Toronto Wolfpack and now plays his tenth game for the Centurions.


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