NRL Round 8 advanced statistics – Involvement rate

The last of my trio of advanced stats is now available for Round 8. For the unfamiliar, you can check out the Involvement Rate article on the site for a run down of how it works.

To quickly summarise, we’re looking for an estimate of how often a player is “involved” during a game on both sides of the ball, either by tackling or running the ball. As with my other statistics, it’s not about quality, mainly quantity.

I’m not trying to identify the most damaging runners, just those who expend a significant effort in a short period of time who are passed over in traditional counting statistics. Big minute forwards dominate those counting stats, and backs get all the glory with tries, assists and kicks. The middle men are usually forgotten and I’m trying to rectify this.

Here’s how Round 8 looked for Involvement Rate

One thing you’ll start to notice over time is that players who generally feature high in Tackle % will usually sit in a similar position for Involvement Rate. That’s mainly due to there being mutliple tacklers recorded for what is (usually) a single run. Which makes it unusal to see a hooker in this list as their role in the game is that of a distributor and not a running dummy half, outside of the rare occasion that Damian Cook takes off with the ball.

This week we have Thomas Dearden, who headed the overall Tackle % list taking top spot for Involement Rate as well. The usual Involvement Rate for the middle fowards who dominate this list have a usual Involvement Rate ranging from 17-19% with front rowers at the high end of that range, locks at the bottom and interchange in between. Anyone player in the middle of the field sporting a rate of over 20% is performing significantly better than their position average.

Moving to the higher minute players, Penrith’s James Fisher-Harris takes top spot this week with an Involvement Rate of just under 25%. To be involved in 25% of plays while on the field in 57 minutes is a massive effort and that sort of work rate shouldn’t go unnoticed. Jolliffe is again showing why he will be a fixture in this list for a while to come, also getting involved in nearly one in four plays.

Finishing up my advanced statistics for Round 8 is the season Involvement Rate. Christian Welch rockets to the top of the Involvement Rate chart after finally playing enough minutes to qualify, sitting with a 23.33% involvement rate. Hopefully he can stay healthy this season. Jolliffe and Toby Rudolf don’t show any signs of hitting the rookie wall yet.

Unlike Tackle % and Run %, we’re not seeing any records possibly broken here. Daniel Alvaro owns the top two seasons for Involvement Rate, with 26.09% in 2017 and 25.85% in 2018 for the Eels. He also posted a 24% invovlement rate in 2016 as well, owning three of the top four seasons. The non-Alvaro player sitting in third for the best involvement rates since 2014 was the Warriors Chris Satae, who notched 25.23% in 2018.