NRL Round 8 advanced statistics – Tackle %

With Round 8 complete we can now take a look at who was completing the most tackles during their time on the field. If you’re unfamiliar with Tackle %, there’s an article on the site that goes through the calculations and how to use it.

Like Run %, it’s not intended to be a catch all statistic showing a players overall worth. It is purely to identify those players who make a high % of tackles whilst on the field. Like Run %, middle forwards who don’t play big minutes are usually forgotten as their high impact/low volume stints on the field don’t show up in traditional counting stats.

Here’s how Round 8 looked:

Thomas Dearden had a busy stint off the bench against the Warriors, with 23 tackles in 22 minutes for a Tackle % of 50.55%. It’s rare to see a Tackle % above 50% unless a player has played in fewer than 10 minutes of game time, where the estimation of plays is more prone to error. Matt Eisenhuth’s 54 tackles in 74 mintues at a rate of nearly 32% also stands out among a sea of interchange players.

To put the above table in perspective, the Tackle % for players in the middle of the field usually ranges from 25-26% with hookers at the high end and interchange players at the lower end.

Moving onto the players with 40 minutes or more played, Jaimin Jolliffe again shows up at the top of the charts. The Titans forward looks like he’ll be playing an important role for the club as he progresses, showing he can maintain his effort during longer stints on the field, much like team mate Moeaki Fotuaika.

The Warriors having two second rowers show up on this list is unusual, but given their penchant for switching edge and middle players around it’s more indicative of their style of play than the workload of individual players.

Finally looking at the season as a whole, and similar to Run % we could have a new Tackle % king at the end of this season. Since 2014 (when I started tracking this statistic) no player has ever ended the season with a Tackle % higher than 40%. The top two seasons were both from Daniel Alvaro, in 2017-18 with the Eels where he posted seasons of 38.06% and 37.43% respectively.

And again like Run %, the rule changes will play a part in this increase as the ball is in play more often, so there is more “stuff” like runs and tackles to be completed.

Lastly, as metioned last week I expected Nat Butcher to show up in this Top 20 after narrowly missing out last week due to not hitting the minimum minutes required. He’s now sitting in third for the season at 35.58%, but given that he didn’t show up in any of the Round 8 charts he may not stay long at that position with an increase in minutes reducing his involvement.