The NRL’s new ruck rules have been credited for ramping up attack but Sydney Roosters star Luke Keary believes the mental load of the 2020 season is a major factor.
Newcastle’s 42-18 win over St George Illawarra brought up a new record for the season, making the 414 points scored in round 19 easily the highest scoring weekend of the season.
It’s also the third highest scoring round since the competition went to eight games a week in 2007, and the biggest weekend of points in 13 years.
And while the six-again rule has sped up the ruck and added more ball-in-play time to each contest, Keary said the stresses of the year make it difficult to know their true impact.
“It’d be hard to evaluate off the one season and obviously it’s been a bit of a different season too with the mental pressure that the whole competition has been under,” he said.
“For those teams outside of the eight it’d be getting pretty tedious and long I’d imagine at the moment.
“It’s hard to evaluate given one season but after next year we’ll probably be able to get a better picture of it … if we’re allowed to leave our house.”
With their 34-18 win over Cronulla, the Roosters shored up their place in the top four and put themselves on track for their best attacking season since 2004 when they scored 710 points from 29 games.
After 19 games this year they have already scored 544 with at least three matches to play, including Friday’s clash with South Sydney and a guaranteed two finals.
Their own season has been disrupted through injuries and coach Trent Robinson’s policy of resting his biggest stars.
But Keary, who has scored four tries in his last two games, says the familiarity of playing with the same premiership winning team for the past three seasons has been the key to their attack.
“It’s one of the most underrated things in footy,” he said.
“It’s hard for people to see and evaluate the way people combine with each other and move with each other and know what they’re doing.
“When you play with someone for such a long period of time you kind of pick up their habits and know what they’re going to do, you can come up with some stuff to capitalise on each other’s strengths.
“But when it’s on it’s really fun.”
The Roosters’ win elevated them into third spot on the ladder above Parramatta, who need to win their final game of the year against Wests Tigers to be assured a top-four spot.
Penrith’s 32-12 win over North Queensland earned them their first minor premiership since 2003, while Brisbane’s loss to the Eels has them facing their first ever wooden spoon.
HIGHEST SCORING ROUNDS SINCE 2007
Rd 25, 2007 – 434
Rd 20, 2007 – 420
Rd 19, 2020 – 414
Rd 25, 2017 – 409
Rd 25, 2015 – 408
Rd 21, 2015 – 406
Rd 21, 2011 – 403
Rd 21, 2018 – 401
Rd 10, 2017 – 400
Rd 24, 2013 – 398
Rd 23, 2008 – 396
Rd 25, 2018 – 395
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