Run %: The other half of quantifying player involvement in rugby league

This article was originally posted on Medium in November 2019.

In my first article on some new advanced statistics for rugby league, I looked at a statistic for rugby league called Tackle %. The aim was to quantify how often a player made a tackle during their time on the field.

As correctly pointed out in some feedback to the article, Tackle % will always skew heavily for middle forwards as they make most tackles during a game. Part of that is intended, as there are plenty of statistics to evaluate performance with the ball. Yet there’s very little to evaluate middle forwards other than some statistical buckets labelled “Tackles” or “Runs”.

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Involvement Rate: a metric for player work rate for Rugby League

This article was originally posted on Medium in November 2019

The basics of rugby league haven’t changed in over a century, it still revolves around either running the ball or tackling the player with it. If you’re on the field and not doing either of those things, then you’re often described as a passenger or labelled with the venerable “playing in a dinner suit”.

Coaches and media will often talk about how “involved” someone is or was during a game, but it’s very nebulous and never quantified or backed up with anything other than a player having “X” amount of runs and/or “Y” amount of tackles. What if we were able to quantify the amount of this “involvement” a player had?

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Tackle %: attempting to quantify defensive involvement for rugby league

This article was originally posted on Medium in October 2019

When defensive effort or involvement is talked about in rugby league circles, especially in mainstream media analysis, it eventually comes down to who made the most runs and who completed the most tackles. On the defensive side of things, more tackles equals more effort and more impact, right?

Usually the players who would be talked about are those topping the tackle counts. Mahoney led the National Rugby League (NRL) in total tackles this season with 1,052 tackles in 1,739 minutes 24 games. McInnes led the NRL in average tackles per game, with 45.8 from 23 games. Does that make them the best defenders in the game?

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Examining potential NRL Supercoach scoring changes

It may be Mid-November with the Ashes not far away, but that’s no excuse to stop Supercoaching.

Last week the Daily Telegraph revealed some possible scoring categories for the 2018 season, with Supercoaches voting on which one they’d like to see included. If you haven’t seen them, the proposed changes are available here, with the current voting below from around 2,500 responses at the time of writing:

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NRL Supercoach: Why you don’t chase last week’s points

Preface: this was written in early 2018 for NRL SupercoachTalk

An (alleged) wise man once said, “Damnation awaits those who chase last week’s points”. The rule of thumb in Supercoach is that you don’t trade in a player after a huge game expecting the big scores to continue.

The chances of the mid-price CTW who crossed for three tries without anyone within 30 metres of on the way to scoring 100+ again is less likely than a Wally Lewis getting through 10 minutes without uttering the phrase “dictating terms”. It’s not only improbable that they continue that form, but you usually have to spend more trades digging yourself out of the hole you traded yourself into.

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