Discipline is an often-overlooked factor in NRL games and their results, particularly since the advent of the six-again rule.
Penalty counts will always come up from the losing side if they are on the wrong side of them, but other than that, it's rare penalties are referenced as a determining factor in NRL matches.
But why do losing teams blame the penalty count, or the six-again figures? Sure, it has an impact on possession, territory and the overall momentum of the game, but the stats will show it's possible be both good and undisciplined, with two of the top six finishing outside the top eight when it comes to penalties conceded.
In saying that, those two sides proved themselves as excellent defenders, and the remainder of the top six were all in the top half.
However, you could almost say the NRL need to look into these numbers and work out how to yet again clean the game up. Simply put, there is no way that teams conceding penalties for fun should be winning the competition, but that's the exact position the competition finds itself in.
On this list, we look at the top six teams in the competition and their position relative to penalties conceded throughout the 2021 regular season, with a full list of every NRL club on the final page so you can compare for yourself.
6. Parramatta Eels
Ladder position: 6th
Penalties conceded: 88
Penalties conceded rank: 3rd
The Parramatta Eels were one of the competition's more disciplined teams, which actually may come as a surprise.
Their defence, at times, was woeful, and the run of losses they went on against some of the competition's top teams during the second half of the year was incredibly poor.
Despite all that, they managed to stay disciplined and not give up penalty after penalty. They leaked points, but it certainly wasn't the fault of piggybacking opposition teams out of their own end.
Clint Gutherson at fullback is, for what it's worth, an excellent organiser of the defensive line, which helps relieve the pressure, while the Eels also liked to play the game at a lightning pace, which would have made it disadvantageous to be slowing things down purposefully in their own defensive structure.
Given the Eels finished the season as one of the teams with the most possession, sitting third in that state, their defensive discipline has to be applauded as they attempted to play the percentages at both ends of the park.