SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 15: Victor Radley of the Roosters passes the ball during the round 15 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Penrith Panthers at Allianz Stadium on June 15, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

In this series, we’ll be delving into the statistics of two different players in the NRL competition, analysing the duo, and asking the tough question – who would you rather have?

Today, we’ll be analysing arguably the two premier ‘new era locks’ in the competition, South Sydney’s Cameron Murray and young Rooster Victor Radley.

While the two have similar physiques and playing styles, the two seem polar opposites when it comes to personalities. Radley is the cheeky youngster about ‘beers, beers and more beers’, while Murray is the sensible, well-spoken workhorse with a scholarship with an investment bank.

The two have had varying levels of success in different circumstances. Radley is a back-to-back premiership winner with the Roosters, enjoying more team-based successes, whilst Murray’s Rabbitohs have suffered back-to-back preliminary finals losses. However, Murray has enjoyed far more individual success, making his debut for both New South Wales and the Kangaroos in 2019, as well as the Dally M Lock of the Year award.

In fact, rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns last year said himself that Murray ‘will be captaining New South Wales in five years and Australia shortly after that’.

Both are juniors of their respective clubs and have big futures in the game, so let’s see what their 2019 stats say in comparison.

It’s important to note Radley spent time at hooker in 2019, whilst Murray was forced into the back-row, the centres and even hooker at times, however both were predominantly in their main position, lock forward.

Victor Radley

Age: 22

Career games: 57

2019 games: 27

Tries scored: 6

Tackles per game: 35.1

Metres per game: 70.6

Missed tackles: 4.2

Offloads per game: 0.3

Pro: Intensity. Radley’s highlights are often big hits, especially when his team needs someone to step up. His intensity also comes into play in attack, the fact that he always pushes up in support on every linebreak as an option sees him net the odd try, and put the opposition fullback in two minds.

Con: Overplays his hand. Victor can be a victim of his own ability at times, his intensity occasionally leading to fatigue, which is why we see such a high missed tackle count, as well as the odd error. He can focus too much on making that ‘big play’, which leads to ill discipline.

Cameron Murray

Age: 22

Career games: 62

2019 games: 26

Tries scored: 12

Tackles per game: 35.6

Metres per game: 113

Missed tackles: 1.5

Offloads per game: 1.3

Pro: Footwork and play the ball speed. It was hard to split between these two. He has such nifty footwork for a middle forward which can often wrongfoot defenders and puts himself into open space. He has the quickest average play the ball speed in the competition, and with the best running hooker in the game in Damien Cook playing with him at club, state and international level, it’s a deadly combination.

Con: Positional switch. Wayne Bennett shfited Murray from lock to the left edge for the opening two games this season, and while it has seen his minutes increase, it has led to a drop in productivity for the youngster. The current South Sydney back-row operates with Murray on the left, Jaydn Su’A starting on the right with Liam Knight at lock, and when Knight is benched after about 25 minutes, Murray shifts to the middle with Ethan Lowe coming onto the left edge. But Murray is most effective when he starts and finishes at lock, which also brings the likes of Cook and Cody Walker into the game.

Verdict: These two men have bright futures in the game. It’s unsure how their rep futures will pan out, with pundits saying their isn’t room for such similar players in the same 17, and Murray the current clear favourite. Radley has a 2-0 lead in premiership rings over Murray, however if you were to switch the two between clubs, you could easily argue that Murray would have those two premiership rings on his fingers as well.

Radley is that enigmatic, fun loving character that is great to have in a squad and will go to war for you on the field, however not only does Murray nearly dwarf him in every stat, his leadership qualities are something a club could build a squad around. And if arguably the greatest player in history in Joey Johns is tipping you to captain your state and your country, you’re certainly doing a few things. Cam Murray wins this battle by a few lengths. Cameron Murray.