Tackle % is one of three advanced statistics that I’ve created to look at player performance throughout the NRL season. If you’re new to the site, I’d recommend reading this post on Tackle %, which explains how it works and why I think it’s an important statistic for identifying high motor middle and interchange forwards.
The idea behind it is that most tackle statistics you see are just based on volume, and mainly highlight players like Jake Friend who make a massive amount of tackles or play large minutes. Most middle forwards and interchange players play limited minutes and wouldn’t ever show up on a top tackle chart.
Adjusting for minutes played and times helps identify those middle and interchange forwards who play with a high motor but don’t play huge minutes. Daniel Alvaro has been the king of this statistic previously, owning two of the three highest Tackle % rates over the past six NRL seasons, both at around 38%.
Here’s how the Tackle % chart looked for Round 15 without a minute restriction
A Manly player topped the list for Tackle %, as you’d expect if you watched the game and saw how much defense the Sea Eagles had to do. Danny Levi had a tackle rate of 48.31%, meaning he completed a tackle on nearly half of the defensive plays Manly faced whilst on the field, which is an insane amount of work. Looking back this season and it’s rare for a player playing more than 30 minutes to have a Tackle % over 40% let alone close to 50%, and let alone in more than 45 minutes. His team mate Sean Keppie also featured in the top 10 with a Tackle % of 39%.
The other Sione Katoa from the Bulldogs (45.13%) and Jai Whitbread (44.83%) from the Titans were the only other players to pass 40% this round.
Next we’ll look at those players who spent at least half a game on the field this round
Again, no surprises that Levi topped this list too with the volume of tackles he had to make. You can see the difference in workrate needed between Levi and his teammate Jake Trbojevic, who made just 6 more tackles despite playing another 34 minutes. Both defended through the middle yet Levi’s Tackle % dwarfs Trbojevic, 48.31% to 31.94%.
North Queenslands Jake Granville takes second spot at 38.65% and Jarrod Wallace of the Gold Coast placed third with 36.83%.
Canterbury had three players in the top ten this week – Aiden Tolman (35.95%), Sauaso Sue (35.73%) and Jeremy Marshall-King (32.25%), while Phoenix Crossland (27.39%) from the Knights snuck into the top 20 due to a reshuffle after Blake Green’s unfortunately knee injury.
Finally, here is the 2020 season leader board for Tackle %
The Titans continue their stranglehold on the top three for this advanced statistic, despite their improvements of late. They may be putting more points on the board but they’re still doing a lot of defending. Jarrod Wallace maintains first with 35.05%, whilst Nathan Peats (34.08%) and rookie Jaimin Jolliffe (32.40%) places third. Jolliffe’s continued efforts have been rewarded with a new two year deal with the club, and with the work rate numbers he’s putting up it’s not surprising.
Late starters to the season Jazz Tevaga (30.92%), Tom Starling (30.54%) and Lachlan Burr (30.32%) are moving up this list of late but are unlikely to push the top three.