Who is the best defender in the league by numbers

The Super League is blessed with some incredible full-backs at the moment, many of whom can take the game by the scruff of the neck or conjure up a game worth the admission money on its own.

The reigning Man of Steel is a full-back, just like the favorite for the award so far this season. Meanwhile, the assists chart is also topped with a rear just like the meters performed. But which fullback is the best in the competition at the moment? Today we statistically compare Jai Field, Jake Connor, Sam Tomkins, Tui Lolohea and Jack Welsby to answer that question. The likes of Lachlan Coote and Niall Evalds are not included due to early season injuries.

So, without further ado, here’s how each fullback statistically ranks against each other:

Try:
Jai Field: 9
Jack Connor: 3
Sam Tomkins: 0
Tui Lolohea: 1
Jack Welsby: 3

Try support:
Field Jai: 3
Jack Connor: 12
Sam Tomkins: 3
Tui Lolohea: 10
Jack Welsby: 11

Combined tests and Aids:
Jai Field: 12
Jack Connor: 15
Sam Tomkins: 3
Tui Lolohea: 11
Jack Welsby: 14

Average gain:
Jai pitch: 9.88 meters
Jake Connor: 4.8 meters
Sam Tomkins: 5.16 meters
Tui Lolohea: 6.76 meters
Jack Welsby: 5.28 meters

Sharp breaks:
Jai Field: 12
Jack Connor: 5
Sam Tomkins: 0
Tui Lolohea: 1
Jack Welsby: 2

Meters:
Field Jai: 1126
Jack Connor: 413
Sam Tomkins: 315
Tui Lolohea: 737
Jack Welsby: 491

Breakdown:

From the start, two statistics stand out and these are the 1126 meters achieved by Jai Field and his 12 line breaks. These eclipse the rest of the four, with Tui Lolohea coming closest in yards with 737 and Jake Connor closest in line breaks with 5, less than half Field’s total.

Field is the competition leader for both of those stats and that perhaps sheds light on how he plays the game differently than other full-backs. While many of his contemporaries in the role seek to find a pass and create space for others, Field is often put in space and uses his speed to devastate teams, which he and Bevan French are all about. two capable in this role.

That’s why he’s up there when it comes to the top try scorer rankings. His total of nine is just a shy of first place.

Curiously, he has only three assists to his name when you might expect more from the dynamic full-back. His tally is well below the 12 of Jake Connor leading the way in the competition as well as Tui Lolohea’s tally of 10 and reigning Young Player of the Year Jack Welsby’s tally of 11.

Moving on to another player with just three assists, Sam Tomkins’ stats are well below the high standards he set last year by winning the Man of Steel. He’s been involved in over 30 tries for the Catalans in 2021 but this year has only registered 3 tries and is yet to score.

Nevertheless, the Catalans are still winning games which perhaps suggests that the Dragons have had to be less expansive at times this season. Stats might not be everything when you have a player like Sam Tomkins on your team; his leadership and ability to be patient with the ball can also be key to success. However, it’s surprising to see a player who had 20 assists last season down to just three in the first seven rounds.

When we look at tries and assists combined, Jake Connor stands out as the most efficient player with a massive 15, followed closely by Welsby’s 14. If we determine the role of full-back as a role to create and score tries, it shows that at the moment Connor is the best full-back in the competition despite persistent rebuffs from England. It also shows that Welsby is on track to fulfill his ambition to emulate childhood hero Sam Tomkins and be the best fullback in the league. If he does, it might be a long time before we see a team other than the Saints win the Grand Final.

Ultimately, these stats help show how the role is played in modern rugby league and what any young fullback needs to do to be successful. The limited yards made by those five – Jake Connor ran just 413 and Sam Tomkins just 315 – suggests most teams rely on wingers for kick returns with their full-backs retained for their attacking influence at the start. other end of the field.


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