BELIEVE it or not, after three games, Bronco Ben Hunt is the season’s best long kicker.
Regular visitors to Broncos training sessions in recent weeks will have seen the work done by Hunt and the team’s other kickers with former Lions defender Daniel Merrett.
And Fox Sports Stats have found Hunt has the year’s highest average for “long metres’’ with 299 per game from an average of 7.3 kicks per game.
Second is South Sydney’s Luke Kelly with 263m from seven kicks, followed by Rooster Mitchell Pearce with 240m from six kicks.
The stat speaks to what your eyes are telling you if you’re watching _ Hunt has found the hole between the fullback and his wingers more often than he usually did last year when kicking from distance.
In the important category of dropouts forced, Eel Corey Norman has the most, six, despite having played only two of the three games. Cowboy Johnathan Thurston is next with four from three, along with Warrior Shaun Johnson.
Hunt has forced two line dropouts in his three matches.
Norman’s long kicking average is 167m, but averages 3.5 long kicks per game, fewer than the top three in the category.
Cronulla are the most penalised team of 2017 so far, but their fans will believe they are paying for their team reputation for pushing the envelope.
The Sharks are averaging 9.3 penalties against them per game, with Penrith (8.7) second.
Three Cronulla players are among the six most penalised players.
Manly prop Brenton Lawrence has attracted a whistle blast seven times, with Paul Gallen _ surprise! _ second in the category on six penalties.
Next come teammate James Maloney on five with Rooster Mitchell Pearce and Manly’s Jake Trbojevic.
Sharks prop Andrew Fifita has been penalised four times.
The least penalised sides are the Dragons and Knights with four each.
We established two weeks ago how Jason Taumalolo’s Round 1 game was the fourth biggest metre-making game by an NRL forward measured by Fox Sports Stats.
After three rounds, the average for “Ten Year Taumalolo’’ is 258m per game. That’s 105m per game more than that of the next forward in the top-10 list, South Sydney benchman Siosifa
Talakai with 153m. The list takes into account all players who have played two or three games so far.
Second on it is Penrith winger Dylan Edwards (177m).
The Cowboys will be glad their suspended star’s next 10 years will start on the field no later than Friday week against Souths in Round 5.