“He's playing OK, but OK is not good enough for Dylan Brown now. He was one of the best five-eighths, if not the best five-eighth, in the game last year. He needs to dominate this competition. That's the challenge for him”.


 It’s nothing new to see a fan base split on players, and Dylan Brown seems to have become a semi-polarising character amongst some Eels fans, albeit, not to the same level of many others before him.

We have the 100% ‘Dylbro’ fans, the fans who are a little frustrated, and those who believe he is a ‘myth’, at least at the cost of his salary. 

It’s all very subjective, of course. What one fan sees as a poor mistake or decision - for instance DB getting tackled on the 5th against Panthers with 1min to go - another fan see’s as a rise in maturity and game intelligence, a more risk adverse player.

But how, statistically, is Dylan Brown developing? How does he compare to other elite 5/8ths? Are there match statistics that can help shed a bit of light on what unlocks his best, or his average performances?

Of course, let's preface this with a disclaimer - statistics don’t tell the full story, there are aspects of games that cannot be quantified in any metric - positive & negative.

What stats can tell us though, is how involved a player is, how effective their involvement is, and importantly, how they are improving.

(All stats are taken from FoxSports, which varies at times with NRL.com)





So, just how far has Dylan come / not come in the past 4 years since he debuted in 2019?



Clearly, Dylbo of 2022 & 2023 has been a far superior player than the Dylbro of 2019-2021 - as you’d expect with experience.

In 2021, or the ‘breakout year’, Dyl took his running game to whole a new level, with 11 tries, 18 line breaks & 81 tackle breaks. He also managed 15 try assists & an average of 90m per game.

So far in ‘23, Dyl hasn’t been able to produce the same level of tries & line breaks (on average), though, he has increased his try assists (15) & line break assists (9) to currently be a career best (average per game). 

Despite some criticism around involvement, DB’s runs & running metres have actually increased again this season (9.7 runs & 97m per game).





Just how does Dylbro weigh up against some of the competitions best number sixes in attack?



Very well.



To put this in perspective, DB has more try assists this season than elite halves such as:

Reynolds (12), DCE (11), Hynes (11), Moses (11) & Cleary (10).

(Hynes averages slightly more than the pack with 11 in 8 games, however).



DB is also 12th in the league for Line Break Assists, and 14th for Offloads (the highest of any half).

He is engaging the line more than every other 5/8 in the game other than Cody Walker (who has engaged the line one more time) and he has the most running metres & runs out of the pack, though, Cam Munster averages 6m more per game.

For extra perspective, Mitch Moses has 45 runs & 548m compared to Dylans 116 runs & 1,174m.

Obviously Mitch has other responsibilities so this is not a slight on his game, but it does show Dylan is making twice the amount of runs & metres to his halves partner.




We suspected it, Dylan is one of the best, if not the best, defensive half in the game, but against the other 5/8ths, it’s not even close.



 Dylan averages the most tackles of any 5/8 (22), the most 1 on 1 tackles (36), yet, has the least missed tackles per game (1.4) & the highest tackle efficiency rating (90.4%).

Despite DB having engaged the line more than any other 5/8th except for Walker (by 1), and having made the most runs & most run metres, he is second only to Munster in least errors made.


 Of course, Dylan’s defence is not perfect. He has made some defensive decisions that have cost points this year, particularly when defending with Cartwright & Waqa Blake - stats don’t illustrate those mistakes. Though, stats also don’t show how many tries he has saved through his cover defence. 





As we’ve all heard, every half relies on time, field position & space. This could be amplified for Dylan Brown, however. A player who’s at their best running into a broken / back peddling defensive line, as opposed to running into a wall within his own half.

This is where perhaps our run metres as a team, and our second phase, becomes crucial. 


As you can see, Dylan’s best games have coincided with the Eels winning possession & territory stats, no huge surprises there, but they also coincide with run metres & second phase / offloads.



Whereas, in Dylan Browns less effective games, the consistent issue has been territory & run metres.

In each game, we have lost both those vital stats as well as possession against the Tigers & Raiders.

Outside of Round 01 against the Storm, each DB ‘poor’ game has coincided with the lowest offload stats of our season also.





"We haven't given (Brown) a lot of opportunities, his strength is what he does with the football. So we need to have the football for more than 40 per cent (after the Tigers game), which we had last week. It's not just on Dylan, it's on the team as well”.


There are no massive surprises in what Dylan requires in the form of team statistics.

DB relies heavily on possession & territory obviously, but both those stats rely on our run metres / winning the middle (an area the Eels have struggled in compared to 2022). The one area perhaps he is most reliant on though, is the Eels game plan. The conservative, does not suit Dylan's game, at least statistically.

Of course, the onus is also on Dylan himself to take control & put himself in games that aren’t going to plan, there is an opposition who also wants to have possession, territory & to win the middle.

Statistically however, Dylan is exceeding some of the competitions best & far more experienced 5/8th’s. Which may surprise some fans.

So where do you stand with Dylan Brown, do any of these stats change or solidify your opinion of his progress? ‘Myth’ or potential ‘superstar’?

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  • He has been slowly improving in his matches this year. I don't think Dylan Brown is the only individual player whose form has slumped this year. I think it's been an overall slump in the team except for a few standout players. However the Eels have slightly improved as a team. I also think the disgraceful NRL draw has certainly not done the Eels much favour in the earlier part of the season.

    • 💯 

    • Question: How can there be an overall form slump in the team and yet at the same time, the Eels slightly improve as a team? 

      Please expand on your thoughts here.

      BTW - how'd the MRI go?

      • My guess is that nobody in the first 3 postings actually read the blog.

        It quite simply says in statistical terms (?) that with the possible aside of Cody Walker, he is the best 5/8 in the game! To be in this position when it is considered he has had a quite start to year is really astounding.

        I think his critics can eat shit to be frank with you......


        • Pops, you need a Snickers..


        • Pops, he's definitely (statistically) challenging some of the games best 5/8ths. And he is improving year on year, so we are seeing progress. 

          One criticism I think we all have of Dyl (and the stats wont show) is he doesnt read the game to the level of a Cody Walker or Munster yet (to be expected with experience of course), he doesnt quite know when to take control & when to go, unless its all flowing in a style that works for him?

          If you look at Cody's stats, he makes half the runs as Dylan yet is equal in try assists & linebreaks, and has more linebreak assists. 

          Which is maybe why BA is challenging him to just keep running, so when opportunities arise, he is there and present & not waiting in the background.

          • Yep all good points NOS and I have to tread warily as I can easily become a hippocrit given my views on stats but I will make this point, to my eye Cody Walker is the best 5/8 in the game and that Dylan is better than Munster....that will cause some arguments, Munster is me more rocks than ever to his diamonds, notwithstanding he can change the course of a game in circumstances that he makes happen. That's where Dylan is still a step (only) behind, he and Moses as well find it difficult to take a game by the scuff of the neck....alhough I see Moses becoming more Reynolds like.

            I'll take that snicker now Snakey.....I have missed your banter snake, I have left a little bread trail but so far no bites! Lol

            • Pops, some will disagree with this obviously, but not as many as you might think reading the comments.

              Id have Munster well ahead still, just my opinion, he's done it all at every level, but do agree he's inconsistent also so understand where you're coming from.

              Cody Walker I'm with you on, has it all, but can also be inconsistent? I don't think there's a 5/8th who isn't though, the nature of first grade?

              • See when everyone talks Munster and Brown the biggest difference here is environment in which he learnt his trade and what made him into what he is now. 

                I can tell you this because I've had this exact conversation with Jahrome Hughes whose old man I used to play with.The only reason why he stayed at the storm was because of it and the coaches and players he was learning off.

                This is what I see in Brown 3-4 yrs from now the torch being passed like it has been to Munster and Hughes and his game going to another level once responsibility is also given passed.It's why you see inconsistency now 3-4 yrs he's a 150 game player at 24-25 yrs old that's when he'll be at his peak not now.What your seeing now is scratching the surface.

                Biggest difference between Munster and Brown right now is big game experience imo that's it.That can only come with time with DB and once it does you'll see what you truely have with DB

                • Coryn, good post. 

                  Interesting about Jahrome Hughes, was that mainly a Bellamy aspect or were there others?

                  Couldn't agree more that the biggest difference between Munster & Dylan right now is age & experience / big game experience. But, Munster has done it all & shows at origin level he is a genuine game breaker, that challenge still lies ahead of DB, & Moses also? 

                  Munster had similar attitude critcisms at 22, same inconsistencies (still does) & also recieved 'kicks up the arse' from his coach (a lot of them).

                  DB is scratching the surface right now as you said, and even that surface is pretty impressive.

                  You could easily argue his best games this year have eclipsed Luai's & Wighton's, and his average games, are on par with those guys. Thats a big step up from two seasons ago, with his best to come.

                  But, do understand some peoples concerns, he has a little 'space cadet' about him, and I think EA said perfectly, there is a concern that he may not love the game enough to reach his potential.

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