NRL 2022 Season Review: Stats, Biggest Talking Points & Best Players

Another NRL season is done and dusted, and it ended in exactly the way that many had anticipated throughout the course of the year. The league was incredibly tight for much of the season, with the exception of one team – the Panthers, who sat well above the chasing pack all year and only got better once finals came around. Their resounding Premiership victory was their second such triumph in a row, but they weren’t the only story to come out of this season. Let’s take a look at some of the major talking points to come out of 2022, before looking ahead to what’s to come next year. 


NRL Ladder 2022 Final Standings

Below is the ladder as it stood at the conclusion of Round 25.


  1. Penrith Panthers
  2. Cronulla Sharks
  3. North Queensland Cowboys
  4. Parramatta Eels
  5. Melbourne Storm
  6. Sydney Roosters
  7. South Sydney Rabbitohs
  8. Canberra Raiders
  9. Brisbane Broncos
  10. St. George Illawarra Dragons
  11. Manly Sea Eagles
  12. Canterbury Bulldogs
  13. Gold Coast Titans
  14. Newcastle Knights
  15. New Zealand Warriors
  16. Wests Tigers


NRL Premiership Winners 2022

The Penrith Panthers were far too good on the first Sunday of October. They entered the Grand Final – their third in as many years – as comfortable favourites against the impressive but somewhat unreliable Eels, and from the outset that favouritism proved justified. By half-time they’d jumped out to an 18-0 lead, before they extended that to 28-0 relatively quickly in the second half. Two late tries to the Eels made the scoreboard look a little more respectable, but they were nothing more than a consolation and did little to mask the fact that this was as comprehensive a Grand Final victory as you’ll see.


NRL Season 2022 Key Talking Points


When Will the Panthers Reign End?

Penrith, having made three consecutive Grand Finals and won the last two, are well and truly in the process of creating a dynasty. And it doesn’t appear likely to end anytime soon. Names like Nathan Cleary, Jarome Luai and Brian To’o are all 25 years of age or under, so expect them to remain at or near the top for years to come.


The Big Improvers

A number of teams demonstrated substantial improvement in 2022, but the two most notable were the sides who finished directly below Penrith at the top of the ladder; the Sharks and the Cowboys. Neither side made the finals last year, with North Queensland jumping all the way up from 15th, but this year catapulted into Premiership contention. 


The Benefit of a Home Ground Advantage

Teams having an advantage on their home turf is not a new concept, nor is it unique to the NRL, but this year that advantage was as prominent as ever. No team in the top eight had a worse record than 8-4 at home, and those eight sides had a combined home record of 71-25. Elsewhere, the Dragons back in 10th had a 9-3 record at home and 3-9 record away, while the Sea Eagles were 7-5 at home and 2-10 away.


NRL Season 2022 Overachievers

It might seem harsh, but based on their performance on Grand Final Day there’s certainly a case to be made that the Parramatta Eels overachieved somewhat this year. They just scraped into the top four – though they recorded an impressive victory over the Storm in Round 25 to get there – just scraped through to the Grand Final in a tight prelim, and were beaten easily by the Panthers twice in the finals series. The year could easily have ended a lot earlier for them. At their best they are a potentially Grand Final calibre side, but too often this year they failed to play close to that level – including on the biggest stage. A more positive spin can certainly be put on their season – if we wanted to be kinder, we could say they got the most out of themselves rather than overachieved – but despite their talent, it’s easy to imagine them failing to get close to replicating this year’s result in season 2023.


NRL Season 2022 Underachievers

Ten wins was enough to get the Gold Coast Titans into the finals last year, so perhaps that was an indication that another finals berth was going to be difficult to achieve, but they appeared to be an improving team with enough talent on their list to again make a charge into September. Instead, they collapsed in a heap. After winning two of their first four, the Titans won just six games for the year, three of which came in the last four rounds against teams who had already thrown in the towel. There’s no doubting that there’s still some talent there, but they need an injection of experience to climb back into finals contention.  


NRL 2022 Dally M Medal Winner

Nicho Hynes was a major reason for the Sharks’ rapid ascent up the NRL ladder in 2022, and he was justly recognised at the Dally M Medal count. The 26-year-old polled a huge 38 votes, the most in the history of the award, finishing five votes ahead of James Tedesco in second with 33 votes, Ben Hunt one further back with 32, before a huge drop back to Scott Drinkwater and Dylan Edwards in fourth with 23 votes. The result saw Hynes become the first Shark to win the award in more than 20 years.


Best Players of the Season


Nico Hynes

Nicho Hynes, of course, has to be included in the best players of the season given his aforementioned dominance in the Dally M Medal. He led the league in linebreak assists comfortably with 29, while he also amassed 21 try assists, made 514 tackles and averaged 117 run metres per game.


James Tedesco

Being one of the most important players in the NRL is a fait accompli heading into most seasons, and 2022 was no different. The 29-year-old took out the Jack Gibson Medal as the Roosters’ best player for a record fifth time after putting together yet another brilliant year. He was easily the league leader for tackle breaks with 169 (second managed 145 and third 126), while he was also second in total runs and run metres, and third in kick return metres.


Dylan Edwards 

Sitting on top of all three of those latter categories was Dylan Edwards, who capped off a fantastic year with the Clive Churchill Medal for best afield on Grand Final Day. The 26-year-old fullback started off the year in scintillating fashion, racking up a huge 344 run metres against the Sea Eagles, and found his best form when it mattered most, putting in big performances in both the preliminary final and, of course, the last game of the year. 


NRL Season 2022 Team Stats

The below stats relate only to the regular season, and exclude all finals games.

Most Points Per Game: Melbourne Storm (27.38)

Least Points Per Game: Wests Tigers (14.67)

Least Points Against Per Game: Penrith Panthers (13.75)

Most Points Against Per Game: New Zealand Warriors (29.17)        

Biggest Crowd: Brisbane Broncos vs Melbourne Storm at Suncorp Stadium (42,612)

Biggest Margin: 66 points (Sydney Roosters 72 – 6 Wests Tigers)

Highest Score: 72 (Sydney Roosters vs Wests Tigers)


NRL Season 2022 Player Stats

Most Tries: Alex Johnston, Rabbitohs (30)

Most Goals: Valentine Holmes, Cowboys (100)

Most Linebreaks: Alex Johnston, Rabbitohs (41)

Most Try Assists: Mitchell Moses, Eels (23)

Most Tackles: Reed Mahoney, Eels (1,207)

Most Post Contact Metres: Joseph Tapine, Raiders (1,731)

Most Tackle Breaks: James Tedesco, Roosters (169)

Most Run Metres: Dylan Edwards, Panthers (5,578)


What Can We Expect For NRL 2023?

The proverbial body of the 2022 season is still warm, but nonetheless let’s take a look at what we can expect from the 2023 season.

Unsurprisingly, the Panthers will head in as the very warm favourite to take out what would be a third consecutive Premiership. Attempting to knock them off their perch will be a hefty chasing pack, but it’s the Roosters – who finished the season looking every bit a Premiership contender – and the Storm who lead the charge. Just below those in the early markets are the Eels, Sharks, Rabbitohs and Cowboys. 

There will also be a major change to the league with the introduction of a 17th team, the Dolphins, who are set to be headed by Wayne Bennett. That will, of course, mean that at least one team will need to have a bye each week. The league is also intending to scrap the earlier Friday night game, most likely replacing it with a third game on the Sunday.


NRL 2023 Futures Betting Odds


To Win The NRL 2023 Premiership

Penrith Panthers – $3.75

Sydney Roosters – $7.00

Melbourne Storm – $9.00

Cronulla Sharks – $11.00

North Queensland Cowboys – $11.00

Parramatta Eels – $11.00

South Sydney Rabbitohs – $11.00

Brisbane Broncos – $17.00

Canberra Raiders – $21.00

Manly Sea Eagles – $21.00

Canterbury Bulldogs – $26.00

Gold Coast Titans – $41.00

St. George Illawarra Dragons – $41.00

New Zealand Warriors – $51.00

Newcastle Knights – $51.00

The Dolphins – $61.00

Wests Tigers – $61.00