NRL Round 16 advanced statistics – Run %

With Round 16 complete it’s time to look at one of my advanced statistics, Run %. For those new to the site, I’d recommend reading this post on Run % which details how it is calculated and how to use it.

To summarise, it estimates the percentage of runs that a player made during his time on the field, adjusted for an estimate of how many times their team had the ball. After all, you can only run the ball if you team possesses it. More possessions usually results in more runs.

The idea behind it is that most statistics about runs are volume based, so you will only ever see high minute players. 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. Think Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Christian Welch, Blake Lawrie, Moeaki Fotuaika and Francis Molo.

Here’s the leading players in the NRL after Round 16 without a minute restriction

A short stint on the field for Trent Merrin yielded a run rate of 30.77%, completing 6 runs in 8 minutes. This is one of the reasons why I use a minute restriction as well as an all minutes chart, as it’s too short to take any real insight from. Renouf To’omaga from the Bulldogs placed second with a Run % of 22.45%, while Blake Lawrie rounded out the top three with a Run % of 20.08%

It wasn’t a big week for the low minute players, with only Merrin and Patrick Mago from Souths sitting inside the top 10 with fewer than 28-29 minutes played. Usually there’s a good mix of players from 10-40 minutes populating this list.

Moving on, lets look at the 40 minute plus players for this round.

Given he was third without a minute restriction, it should come as no surprise that Lawrie tops this list again with 23 runs in 47 minutes. His run rate of 20.08% means he completed a run on one in five plays the Dragons had against the Titans on Friday evening.

Jared Warea-Hargreaves from the Roosters placed second but nearly 2% below Lawrie at 17.67% while the Raiders Josh Papalii was the only other player who spent half of the match on field to top 17%.

Patrick Carrigan from Brisbane was hte only 80 minute player in the list this week, with a Run % of 14.60% thanks to his 20 runs against the Roosters on Friday.

To finish up we’ll take a look at the 2020 season leaders for Run %.

As discussed last week, both Andrew Fifita and Kane Evans have re-entered the top three after passing my arbitrary minutes restriction (used to filter out small sample sizes). Fifita regains top spot at 17.87%, a full percentage point ahead of Melbourne’s Nelson Asofa-Solomona. Given he will be playing very limited minutes for the Sharks, Fifita looks like a sure bet to take the Run % crown for 2020.

Evans moves back into third place at 16.25%, with Francis Molo (15.20%) and James Tamou (15.11%) the only other player with a season run rate above 15%.