NRL Opta facts: Rested Knights target Rabbitohs, Storm aim to maintain streak
After a bruising State of Origin opener in Brisbane on Wednesday that saw Queensland come out on top, the focus shifts back to NRL action.
There are eight games scheduled for a busy round 13, starting on Friday with the high-flying South Sydney Rabbitohs hosting a Newcastle Knights team who outclassed Sydney Roosters 38-12 in their most recent outing.
As for the Roosters, who had a bye week to get over the heavy defeat, they visit Penrith Panthers in one of three games taking place on Sunday.
Before then, however, Saturday's schedule sees table-topping Melbourne Storm travel to face New Zealand Warriors, while North Queensland Cowboys will hope to continue their dominance over Manly Sea Eagles.
Ahead of the action, we pick out some Opta facts of note for each fixture.
South Sydney Rabbitohs (10-2) v Newcastle Knights (6-5)
- The Rabbitohs have triumphed in the last nine meetings against the Knights - it is their longest winning streak against any opponent in the NRL era.
- Mitchell Pearce has made 14.4 kicks in general play per game this season, more than anyone else in the competition. Newcastle team-mate Sione Mata'utia, meanwhile, is set to play in his 100th NRL game.
Wests Tigers (5-6) v Canberra Raiders (7-5)
- The Raiders like to strike first – they have scored the opening try of the game in five of their last six outings away from home.
- Wests Tigers have won just two of their last eight games with the Raiders, though in Esan Marsters they have a man in fine form. The centre has scored five tries in his last five appearances – that is one more than he managed in his previous 35 outings.
New Zealand Warriors (4-7) v Melbourne Storm (9-2)
- The Storm normally cause problems for the struggling Warriors, as they have won the past seven meetings on the bounce. That impressive run includes a one-point triumph back in round seven this season.
- The Warriors were defeated 8-2 by the Brisbane Broncos last time out and will be looking to avoid scoring fewer than 10 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 2000.
Cronulla Sharks (6-5) v Parramatta Eels (6-6)
- The Eels picked up a 24-12 win when they clashed with the Sharks earlier this season, snapping a five-game losing run against them.
- Sharks forward Andrew Fifita has made 36 offloads in 2019, six more than any other player in the competition.
North Queensland Cowboys (6-6) v Manly Sea Eagles (6-6)
- The Cowboys have won six of their last seven games against the Sea Eagles. However, their only defeat in that span came in sides' last encounter at 1300SMILES Stadium.
- North Queensland's Jason Taumalolo has made 5.4 tackle breaks per game in this campaign, the most by any forward in the NRL.
Brisbane Broncos (5-6) v Gold Coast Titans (3-9)
- Brisbane have won 16 of their last 19 NRL games against the Gold Coast Titans, including eight of their last nine across which they have won by an average margin of 22 points per game.
- Dale Copley has scored seven tries in his last four games for the Titans, taking his 2019 season tally to nine. Only once in his career (16 in 2014) has he scored more in a single season.
Penrith Panthers (4-8) v Sydney Roosters (8-3)
- Only the Titans (78) have retained more kicks in general play than Penrith (77), while no team has made fewer kick errors than the Panthers' tally of seven.
- Cooper Cronk has been directly involved in 10 tries in his last four games against the Panthers (four tries and six try assists), while fellow Rooster Siosiua Taukeiaho is set to reach the personal milestone of 100 NRL appearances.
Canterbury Bulldogs (3-9) v St George Illawarra Dragons (4-7)
- The Dragons will be aiming to secure back-to-back victories against the Bulldogs for the first time since they won six on the bounce from 2008 to 2011.
- Canterbury have registered just 9.4 errors per game in NRL 2019, the fewest of any team. Wests Tigers (9.9) are the only other team to average fewer than 10 per game.