Having analysed every single try this season, we break down which players and teams were capable of producing moments of magic from distance, and which teams were more susceptible to conceding big plays.
Prior to his departure from the Salford Red Devils, Justin Carney registered the longest try of the season, running the entire length of the pitch against the Catalans to score in spectacular fashion.
There were just 13 tries scored that saw the tryscorer receive the ball and carry it over 90 metres.
Castleford Tigers and Hull FC were the only two sides to register three tries of over 90 metres while four teams – Leigh Centurions, Warrington Wolves, Leeds Rhinos and Widnes Vikings – failed to hit the 90 metre mark….or even 80m for that matter.
Naturally, most of the players scoring the longest tries for their teams were wingers. One interesting note for the Leeds Rhinos was that Rob Burrow recorded their two longest tries of 74 and 67 metres, with Kallum Watkins the third longest with 48m. The Rhinos may well miss the diminutive Burrow more than they realise when he retires at the end of the season.
The Rhinos have indeed struggled to produce big plays with the majority of their tries coming from close range, registering an average distance of 10.5m.
Surprisingly, Wakefield Trinity top the list with an impressive average of 17.4 metres per try. That was largely due to the fact that they scored ten tries of over 70 metres or more, producing some great entertaining rugby to watch.
Perhaps more obvious candidates, Hull FC and Castleford Tigers sat in second and third respectively, with 17.3m and 13.1m.
Catalans Dragons were on the receiving end of Justin Carney’s tremendous try while Tommy Makinson’s 96m effort against Hull FC for St Helens was clearly the highlight try of the Magic Weekend, if not the season.
Teams near the bottom of the table were less likely to concede long distance tries however, with the longest Widnes conceding being Albert Kelly’s 75m effort against them, and Reece Lyne’s 85m try being the longest against Leigh. That may well signal an alternative weakness however, as teams were able to bully them and ultimately break them down regularly.
This table gives a greater indication of some of the better quality defences with Castleford, St Helens and Hull topping the chart in conceding the lowest average distance when it comes to tries.
The Catalans were particularly vulnerable from long distance, conceding tries from an average of 15.7m. Referring back to the tries scored by players from 90 metres or more, the Dragons conceded 4 of those 13 tries this season.
Last but not least, we look at the impact made by individual players to their teams. Greg Eden was understandably the star of the opening stage thanks to his 34 tries, but he led the way in terms of percentage of his team’s tries also with 25.8%.
Special mentions to Tom Lineham (21.3%) in second place for Warrington Wolves in a difficult season for his team, while talented young winger Liam Marshall in third with 20 tries and 19.8% of Wigan Warriors' tries this season.
In this measure, while Luke Gale scored 12 tries for the Castleford Tigers, he had the 37th highest percentage of team tries with 9.1%. Corey Thompson on the other hand managed just 9 tries this season for the Widnes Vikings, but that was 13.8% of their tries.