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Hardest middle men to stop: Sharks' advantage, Knights win big

An analysis of the toughest middle forwards in the NRL to bring down reveals a big advantage to Cronulla and a huge boost amongst Newcastle's recruitment drive.

High-profile Knights recruit David Klemmer was the toughest middle forward to bring down in 2018, drawing three or more defenders on 75% of carries and being brought down one-on-one on just 1% of his carries, according to Stats.

The good news doesn't stop there for Knights fans however: journeyman recruit James Gavet finished ninth on that list, drawing three or more defenders 65% of the time and getting stopped by a lone tackle on just 6% of carries.

Daniel Saifiti also comes in at 22nd, drawing two or more defenders 97% of the time and three or more 58% of the time.

Manly have two players in the top 10 in Martin Taupau, who drew three or more tacklers 71% of the time to hold second spot on the list and Addin Fonua-Blake (eighth) who drew at least three defenders 65% of the time.

Cronulla had two players in the top six and two more in the top 25 in rep forwards Matt Prior (drawing three defenders 70% of the time), Aaron Woods (69%), Paul Gallen (61%) and Andrew Fifita (57%).

The analysis, which looks at middle forwards with a minimum of 150 carries in the 2018 season, found George Burgess was third hardest to stop while Roosters starting props Siosiua Taukeiaho and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves were seventh and 11th respectively.