Two things invariably feature in the premiership winner's CV each year.
1. The best defence...tick (so far)
2. The fewest (or close to) players used throughout the year. (tick so far)
So far this year we have used 23 players, how does this compare to other clubs?
Raiders 21 (more saeson ending injuries announced this week )
Manly + Roosters 23
Panthers + Storm + Knights + Sharks + Dragons 25
Cowboys + Bulldogs 26
Tigers + Broncos 27
18 consecutive rounds plus another 4 finals weeks is a brutally taxing assignment and some clubs are buckling under the weight of their injuries and the top heavy structure of their salary cap
So in relative terms we are "very healthy" compared to most clubs and in a better position to our main rivals
To see how bad cap maangement plus injuries can mess things up, look at Manly. Close to 1/3 of their cap is tied up in 3 players - TT, JT and DCE, exposing a wafer thin roster underneath their top 17-18 players.
Parramatta by contrast are reaping the benefit of disciplined cap management. Credit to Arthur, O'Neil and Co for holding firm to their plans when under pressure from various player agents.
We now have a deep, evenly spread roster where you really need it most - the engine room.
I think with over 40 players across all teams either out for the season or out indefinitely- our evenly spread deep squad could be the telling factor in another 14 weeks when we see who the last team standing is....and when we make the "next man up" call, we will have the troops to get the job done.