Rugby League Advanced Stats Glossary

This page contains a short rundown of some of the advanced statistics for rugby league that used on the Eye Test. The first three have links to longer articles that explain them in greater detail. All statistics (unless otherwise noted) are taken from the Fox Sports statistics page

Tackle % – Also referred to ask Tackle Rate. An advanced statistic for rugby league that is used to quantify how often a player makes a tackle whilst on field, normalised by the estimated number of “plays” defended during their time on field. After all, you can’t complete a tackle if your team has the ball. The idea behind this metric (and the following two) is to provide a way of quantifying the effort of middle forwards who don’t play big minutes and are often overlooked for players who put up bigger raw numbers in larger minutes. The average Tackle % for a middle forward is in the 25-26% range, indicating they complete a tackle on one out of every four plays their team defends. The 2020 leader for Tackle % was Jai Whitbread of the Gold Coast Titans at 35.93%.

Run % – Also referred to as Run Rate. An advanced statistic for rugby league that is used to quantify how often a player completes a run whilst on field, normalised by the estimated number of “plays” the players team had whilst they were on field. Like Tackle %, the idea is to show which players are completing a high rate of runs for their time on field, as middle forwards usually play fewer minutes than the rest of a team. The average Run % for middle forwards is usually in the 10-12% range, meaning they complete a run in one out of every ten plays. The leader for 2020 was Cronulla’s Andrew Fifita at 17.34%.

Involvement Rate – Combines Tackle % and Run % to give a holistic metric for player involvement during a rugby league game. Like the other two advanced statistics, this is normalised by the number of plays whilst on field. The average Involvement Rate for middle forwards is between 17-19%, meaning they either complete a run or tackle on nearly two out of every five plays whilst they are on field. Generally Tackle %, Run % and therefore Involvement Rate generally decline as minutes increase. The leader for 2020 was Jaimin Jolliffe from the Gold Coast at 21.93%

Net Points Responsible For (NPRF) – A metric for a players overall contribution to a teams performance. Each score by a player is valued as it is on the scoreboard (try – 4, goal – 2, field goal – 1), plus 4 points for every try assist and try contribution. Four points are removed for every try cause a player concedes as a way of quantifying their defensive contribution. This total is then divided by the number of games played to get a plus or minus total points per game that a player is “responsible” for. The NPRF leader for 2020 was Penrith’s Nathan Cleary at +9.72 per game.

Error Rate – The number of possessions a player has divided by the number of errors they have made. The end result is X number of possessions by a player for every error generated. The worst performing players each season usually have an error rate of <10 possessions for every error committed. Nene McDonald from the Sharks was the 2020 leader, committing an error every 5.33 possessions in his two games.