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TRY LINES: Left-wing support can reap its rewards.

Byline: Rod Studd

IT MAY have been a rough few months for Gordon Brown and his Labour government but it's still definitely a good time to be a left-winger in Super League.

Season in, season out, the left flank is the prime position for tryscoring and Super League XIII has been no exception.

Prior to last night's top-of the-table tussle between Leeds and St Helens, 103 matches had taken place and left wingers had rattled up 105 tries, crossing the whitewash in 78 of those games.

You might find that fascinating. You might find it as dull as ditchwater but there's money to be made by backing the bloke standing out on the left touchline to be the first on the score sheet.

That's happened 15 times so far. More than once in every seven matches. From the 206 bets placed (two in each game), a small profit would have been made.

In run of the mill Super League fixtures only Sky bet and Tote sport tend to price up this market, so the real value is in televised games where all the fixed-odds firms provide prices.

Sky Sports have had their cameras at 37 matches this season. Seven times one of our men got the opening try at odds ranging from 10-1 to 16s.

If you'd had a tenner on both left-wingers every live game, you'd have been pounds 230 up. A tasty 31 per cent profit.

Digging deeper behind the figures reveals two teams who regularly fall for the old leftwing ploy.

Castleford have conceded a century of tries this season - 19 of them to the left-winger.

And 20 per cent of the 50 tries shipped in by St Helens have been to the man traditionally wearing the No. 5 shirt. So although Saints' right winger Ade Gardner is Super League's top tryscorer with 18, it seems there's a problem with his defence.

It's something to bear in mind as the season reaches its climax.

If you're trying to solve the mystery of just why left-wing tries are so common, the solution's simple. It's easier to pass from right to left and much easier for right-footed kickers to boot the ball to the left corner.


St Helens' left-winger Ade Gardner is Super League's top tryscorer with 18 tries
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 21, 2008
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