Stat Attack: The most effective tacklers in the NRL



  • Middle defenders in rugby league have the most physically taxing role on the field when the opposition has the ball, required to sprint up and back 10 metres on every play while stopping huge ball carriers in their tracks.

    Edge defenders in rugby league may not have the biggest defensive workloads but they have arguably the toughest job, often getting isolated or being forced into tough split-second decisions.

    As such the best effective tackle percentages (proportion of tackles completed rather than being broken or conceding an offload) frequently belong to props and hookers.

    But who among them does the best job of hitting and sticking almost every time, wrapping up the ball as well as the man?

    Applying a minimum of 100 tackles made in the 2018 Telstra Premiership, NRL.com Stats finds a name that may be surprising to some but won’t be so surprising to either his teammates or his club’s supporters – Wests Tigers front rower Alex Twal.

    The former Eels lower grader has been a model of consistency since being promoted to first grade, getting through his tackles and carries in 40-odd minutes off the bench more often than not, rarely missing a tackle.

    Twal made 598 tackles at 95.2% effectiveness and was the only player on the list to with an effective rate over 95%.

    Another unheralded bench prop, Shark Ava Sumanufagai, was next best with 208 at 94.7%.

    Two other men who could lay genuine claims to being the best defender in the NRL in 2018 had an effective rate almost as good but with far more tackles made. Dragons hooker Cameron McInnes (1134 tackles, most in NRL) and Manly’s Jake Trbojevic (1032 tackles) each finished with a 93.7% effective rate, the equal ninth-best.

    The Sharks are well represented with Aaron Woods (93.3%), Paul Gallen (93.0%) and Andrew Fifita (92.8%) making it four players in the top 25. The only other club with more than two is Wests Tigers, with Robbie Farah (93.0%) and Tim Grant (93.7%) joining Twal.

    Every player in the top 30 is a middle forward (hooker, prop or lock) bar one – Penrith back-rower Isaah Yeo is the best of every other position on the field with 728 tackles at 92.5% effective giving him the 28th best effective rate.

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  • That should shut up a few Twal bashers.



  • @:

    That should shut up a few Twal bashers.

    Ava has good stats as well even though some on here didnt rate him



  • @:

    That should shut up a few Twal bashers.

    Not sure who on here has been critical of Twal - he’s been consistently one of our best since making his debut.



  • I like twal but for me this stat reeks with Tim grant up their aswell. All his mist tackles mustn’t have registered because he was more than an arms length out of position



  • Twal also ha good hands. Always finds 10m.



  • Every player bar one in the top 30 is a middle forward. The stat basically supports those that never have to make one on one tackles or have to make defensive decisions.



  • In an ideal world where we have enough props I think Twal could be an awesome 13. Hard to judge if he has the motor based on the minutes he played last season but would love to see him get a run there.



  • @:

    In an ideal world where we have enough props I think Twal could be an awesome 13. Hard to judge if he has the motor based on the minutes he played last season but would love to see him get a run there.

    Agree, would love to see him get a crack at playing 13 this season.



  • @:

    In an ideal world where we have enough props I think Twal could be an awesome 13. Hard to judge if he has the motor based on the minutes he played last season but would love to see him get a run there.

    In an ideal world we pick up Jason Taumalolo 🙏



  • That surprised me. I was trying to think of bigger names. But yes, fair enough and an under-rated player.



  • That was me. Didn’t rate Ava. Still don’t.nice guy but lacks talent, just an opinion.



  • There where a few others also dont get me wrong but i always found him effective without being outstanding



  • I think Twal will be one of the big improvers this year, because he is still relatively young and Madge will be a big help to him for increasing fitness.



  • Grant often isn’t in the right postcode to attempt a tackle.


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