Round 8 is complete so it’s time to look at some advanced statistics for the round, starting with Run %. As noted previous, Run % looks to quantify how often a player completes a run while they were on the field, taking into account an estimate of how many plays they faced whilst on the field.
It is purely meant to identify how often someone is making a run, not how good the run was or how much impact it had. Middle forwards are usually only measured by counting stats like runs and run metres, which makes it hard to see where interchange players are making a difference with high numbers in a short space of playing time.
Here’s how Round 8 looked for Run %.
Royce Hunt for the Sharks topped the chart this week, with an impressive run % of 20.11%. Keep in mind that the usual Run % for a middle forward ranges from 12.8% for a front rower down to 10% for a lock (with an interchange player sitting in between). Topping 20% isn’t common which points to a huge effort from Hunt during his limited time on the field.
A perfect example of why you can’t look at one stat in isolation is Hunt’s team mate Jack Williams hitting seventh this week with a Run % of 16.23%. Unfortunately Williams sports one of the worst Error Rates in the NRL, with an error coming every 6.75 times he touches the ball. During his Round 8 game against the Titans, Williams commited three errors on his 17 runs.
There are only 21 players this season in who have made at least 10 errors, and only two of them – Williams and Braidon Burns – have touched the ball fewer than 100 times. A case of quality runs being more important than quantity from Sharks perspective with Williams.
Another Shark heads the list of players who spent at least half a game on the field. Andrew Fifita turned back the clock this round to a time when his knee wasn’t giving him so much trouble, leading players with 40 or more minutes at 17.52%. Fifita had three of the top eight season Run % over the past six years but the wear and tear on his body has limited his impact so far this season. Hopefully this is a sign that he might be managing it better moving forward.
As mentioned last week, it’s not uncommon to see wingers and fullbacks on this list and there’s three of them this round. The Raiders Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad comes in at eighth with a Run % of 14.21%, well ahead of the usual fullback rate of 8.5%. David Nofoaluma (13%) and James Tedesco (12.9%) join him in 19th and 20th positions.
Lastly looking at the season Run %, there’s a chance Nelson Asofa-Solomona could be joining some elite company if he continues this form. There have only been three players with a season Run % of 17% or higher since 2014 (minimum 200 minutes played). They are Nate Peteru (18.78% with Gold Coast in 2017), David Klemmer (18.53% with Canterbury in 2014) and Paul Vaughan (17.03% with Canberra in 2015).
His Storm team mate and noted workhorse Christian Welch sneaks into the top 20 players this season by crossing the minimum minutes played barrier, giving Melbourne three players inside the top 10, along with North Queensland. This is probably more a factor of their bench composition (three forwards and a dummy half or utility) and how long those bench players usually play – low minutes for the highest impact.
Finally Manly will be hoping Taniela Paskea can continue his high work rate with the ball with Addin Fonua Blake again missing multiple games through suspension.