Stats Pack: St Helens
RLCUP. Saints V Rhinos. Sat10thApr2021.© MATTHEW MERRICK PHOTOGRAPHY
The Betfred Super League reaches its penultimate round this weekend and Leeds Rhinos kick it off with a Friday night clash with St Helens, kick off 7:45pm.
Before the teams run out, here are some of the key stats, figures and facts about both Richard Agar and Kristian Woolf’s sides.
Team Head to Head
Two giants of Super League collide in round 24 as St Helens look to wow their home crowd for the last time before they enter the play offs while Leeds can take a large step to confirming their top six place by taking the win at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
This will be the first time this season that Leeds and St Helens have met in the league – but the two did play each other in the Challenge Cup in March, when St Helens ran out 26-18 winners. Since the Super League era began in 1996, St Helens have won 39 matches against the Rhinos, while Leeds have 32 wins. At the Totally Wicked Stadium, the home side have the upper hand with 20 wins from 30 games; their biggest win coming in 1999 when they recorded a 62-18 result.
Statistically in 2021, although the Rhinos have played three more games than the St Helens, the teams are relatively close in their numbers. As expected with Woolf’s side, Saints score plenty of points and concede very few. Thanks to the work of Lachlan Coote, who departs at the end of the season for Hull KR, Jack Welsby and Tommy Makinson, the ‘red v’ have averaged 26.1 points per game (third in the league) and conceded 10.9 points per game (first in the league). They also dominate possession and territory (a metric that Leeds also do very well in), plus in attack, they top the league in tackle breaks and penalties awarded too.
The Rhinos are fifth across both average points scored and average points conceded and sit behind St Helens with a 5.7 average points difference. Like St Helens too, the Rhinos score tries and conceded very few, plus Rhyse Martin’s successful goal kicking ranks Leeds behind only Warrington, Leigh, Wakefield and Catalans in goal kicking success. Interestingly, although Richard Agar’s side are pipped by St Helens in total run metres this season, they are in the top two teams who make the most metres per set (42.2 on average). In post contact metres too, Leeds top the pile due to Luke and Tom Briscoe, Rhyse Martin and Ash Handley.
St Helens Top Performers
12 Tries (7th in SL)
66 Goals (4th in SL)
686 Tackles (8th in SL)
302 runs (7th in SL)
13 Line Breaks (4th in SL)
Key Head to Head
Two of Super League’s most experienced prop forwards go head to head on Friday night in Alex Walmsley and Matt Prior. Both players have multiple domestic titles to their name as well as international recognition and clash for the first time since St Helens knocked Leeds out of the Betfred Challenge Cup earlier in the season.
Walmsley continues to set the standard in Super League with his drive in the forward pack. He leads St Helens in total runs and metres made this season and out of all players in the top flight, he is seventh in runs (302) and fourth in metres (3107). He has also made more then 500 more post contact metres than the next best Saints player (which is Mark Percival) showing how difficult it is to bring the prop to ground when he has the ball in hand. His efforts are replicated in defence too as he is just behind hooker James Roby in tackles (Walmsley has 400 while Roby has 686).
A similarity between both Prior and Walmsley comes in their ability to keep the ball moving when their sides are with the ball. Prior has earned the reputation of being an efficient ball stealer in a one on one scenario and leads the league with seven this season and also has 14 offloads. Walmsley too likes to offload and has produced 19 in 2021.
Further to his one on one steals, Rhinos captain Prior has put his name in contention once again for the Rhinos’ player of the season with another big season. Defensively, he has made 613 total tackles (averaging 32.3 per games) and with the ball in hand, like Walmsley, he is among Leeds’ top metre making forwards (2099 metres made from 214 carries). This was seen against Hull FC at the Dacia Magic Weekend when the captain made the most post contact metres out of Leeds’ player and the most tackles. This season though, he has incurred the joint most penalties though in the league; the prop giving away 22 along with Catalans half back James Maloney.
Stats Standout from Dacia Magic Weekend: St Helens
One of Saints’ newest signings Sione Mata’utia has slowly worked his way into Super League life but against the Dragons at the Dacia Magic Weekend, he had one of his best games.
The brother of Castleford’s Peter Mata’utia, Sione signed for St Helens from NRL side Newcastle Knights and during his debut campaign, he has played in all but three games during a consistent campaign. Against Catalans at the Dacia Magic Weekend, the loose forward had one of his best games of the season.
Having produced his highest tackle count in a single game against the Dragons on home soil (34), Mata’utia made 30 tackles against Steve McNamara’s side at St James’ Park and also was among Saints’ top three metre makers (only Tommy Makinson and Alex Walmsley made more). Attacking the line too, he made five tackle breaks and one line break plus he scored two tries, taking his season tally to four.
Stats Standout from Dacia Magic Weekend: Leeds Rhinos
Fresh from signing his new deal to stay with the club, Rhyse Martin produced an energetic performance against Hull FC at the Magic Weekend.
A day after he had announced he would remain at Emerald Headingley for 2022, Martin, along with nine of his team mates, played the full match against Hull FC; Martin and Morgan Gannon in particular muscling up against Hull’s forward pack. Compared to their opposite numbers Andre Savelio and Manu Ma’u, Martin and Gannon made one less metre than their Hull counterparts in the match (318 compared to 319) but the duo made six more metres through the gain line (highlighted by Martin’s impressive 122 gained metres throughout the match).
During the 88 minutes, the second rower also made the most tackles out of any Leeds player, missing only one, and ran for 154 metres from 16 carries. He also added his third try of the season and took his goal tally to 76, keeping him in second place in both goals and total points for 2021; James Maloney is just ahead in both categories.
St Helens captain and stalwart James Roby needs one appearance to move ahead of Jamie Peacock and level with Paul Wellens in joint third place in the list of Super League’s all-time leading appearance makers. He will then be 13 appearances behind Andy Lynch in second and 14 behind Kevin Sinfield MBE.
St Helens centre Mark Percival needs one try to reach 100 for his career. Percival has score 97 times since he debuted for the club in 2013 and has also scored twice for England.
Tickets for our away trip to St Helens can be purchased over the phone on 0371 423 1315 (Monday to Friday 10:30am – 3:30pm) or online at tickets.therhinos.co.uk.
*Please be aware that the ticket office at Emerald Headingley Stadium is not open on non-match days.
|East Stand – Standing behind the posts||North Stand – Reserved Seating along one side of the pitch|
|Senior (aged 65+)||£16||£19|
|Young Adult (aged 19 to 21)||£16||£19|
|Youth (aged 17 to 18)||£13||£15.50|
|Juniors (aged 5 to 16)||£10||£10|
|Junior Under 5s**||FREE||Free|
*Junior Season ticket holders no longer receive the away games as part of the benefit but can purchase a junior ticket at £5 before matchday. Customer number is require at point of sale. These cannot be done on the day on the turnstiles at St. Helens, however, they can be done via the St. Helens ticket office on match night.
**Under 5’s and Companion’s tickets are unavailable online and must be ordered via Leeds Rhinos Ticket Office.7
For more information, click here.