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2023 NRLW season review: Standout stats

A commendable maiden NRLW campaign for the Sharks was underpinned by a range of strong statistical performances.

In building a record of four wins and five losses, with three defeats coming by eight points or fewer as they finished sixth, there's a sturdy platform for 2024.

The numbers from season 2023 showed Cronulla possess the talent to shake up the competition next year, especially with added experience under their belts.

Standout performers

Johnston a force to be reckoned with

Ellie Johnston's membership to the front-rower's union may be reviewed for scoring too many tries, with a haul of six putting her in the company of outside backs.

To the envy of props everywhere, the destructive Johnston scored more four-pointers than any other forward last season and was ranked equal 10th overall.

Skittling defenders for fun at times, Johnston also sat 16th for tackle breaks (36).

Tireless Quincy leading from the front

No one had their hands on the Steeden more than Quincy Dodd in 2023, with the Sharks hooker recording the most ball receipts with 731 (81.2 per game).

Also the league leader for dummy-half runs (67) as she schemed around the ruck, the crafty Dodd ranked equal fourth for line-break assists (nine).

The reliable No.9 featured in all nine matches and never played fewer than 50 minutes, underlining why she was signed to a long-term deal.

Biddle bursts onto the scene

With her hard-running style, New Zealand-born Annessa Biddle was a revelation as she won the NRLW Dally M Rookie of the Year award.

The powerful centre averaged more post-contact metres than anyone else (77.5m per game) and collected the second most 'PCMs' in total (620m) - even counting players that featured in the finals - despite missing a game through suspension.

The Kiwi Ferns representative ranked seventh for average overall run metres (170.8 per game), with fellow Sharks centre Tiana Penitani sitting ninth (159.3m per game) en route to being crowned the team's inaugural Player of the Year.

Led by their star outside backs, Cronulla averaged the most metres in the competition at 1551.5 per game - showing they had no trouble getting downfield.

Tonegato makes fist of positional switch

Making the transition from a world-class fullback to five-eighth, Emma Tonegato proved adept at creating space for her teammates by enticing the opposition.

She led the competition with 95 line engagements (10.6 per game), with the Jillaroos representative's willingness to attract defenders contributing to her being ranked equal fifth in the competition for line-break involvements (five).

After a season in the No.6 jersey, along with another pre-season at the Sharks, Tonegato should be primed to take her playmaking output to a new level.

Halfback Tayla Preston was also impressive with an average of 7.8 line engagements per match, placing the local junior fifth in this metric.

Flurry of points

The Sharks' attacking prowess was on full display in the final round, beating the Eels by a record 56-6 margin. Tony Herman's team finished the season averaging 22.4 points per game - placing them fourth in the league.

While they took time to gel and were held scoreless by Wests Tigers in round two, Cronulla posted 154 points in the last five rounds at an average of 30.8 per game.

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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