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The increasing importance of interchange – NRL Round 5 2021 stats and trends

Last week I mentioned one of the things that the new NRL rules has changed in 2021 is how often teams use their interchange bench. With fatigue playing an even larger part of the game this season due to the reduction of in game stoppages, players off the bench are spending nearly 10% more time on the field this season, up three minutes to 33.8 per game. It’s not a huge change yet, but as middle forwards tire bench players are impacting the game even more and becoming more important. Not only are starting players tiring quicker and earlier in...

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If you enjoy reading The Rugby League Eye Test content here and on social media, please consider supporting the site. Content on The Rugby League Eye Test will always be free and available to everyone. One of the aims of this site is to improve the data analysis and literacy within the rugby league community and democratising data. That said, a considerable amount of time and energy goes into producing content for the site, which is difficult to find as someone with a full-time job and young family. Then there’s site hosting to consider, which isn’t much, but everything adds...

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The Eye Test’s Most Adequate of 2020 – The rule change affecting time in play that’s rarely talked about

This article was originally posted as part of NRL Round 14 notes and trends, August 18, 2020. One of the things I’ve noticed over the past few rounds is that the average time of ball in play has dropped slightly to the pre Rugby League 2.0 levels. This comes after a decent increase earlier in the season once the rules were changed. Focusing just on time in possession, the last NRL three rounds haven’t had more than 57 minutes of ball in play, the three lowest rounds this season and both before V’Landysball was introduced in Round 3. This led...

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The Eye Test’s Most Adequate of 2020 – Set restarts: if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying

This article was originally posted as part of NRL Round 9 notes and trends, July 14, 2020. In last weeks trends and notes post, I showed there was a negative correlation between set restarts and margin, which had been positive from Round 3 to Round 7. With another week of matches completed, I thought I’d dig a bit deeper into this to see if I could find out what was leading to this. The reason I find this so interesting is that it doesn’t conform with traditional rugby league thinking. Possession is treasured, and statistics like run metres correlate with...

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The Eye Test’s Most Adequate of 2020 – Why volume statistics aren’t always your friend

This article was originally posted as part of NRL Round 15 notes and trends, August 25, 2020. This week should have been a fantastic matchup of halves, with Shaun Johnson of the Sharks facing up against the Panthers and Nathan Cleary. Cleary has been one of the standouts this season, whilst Johnson is having a great season, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it from the way he’s often covered by the mainstream media. I’d pointed it out previously with a radar chart comparison in early August: Johnson ended up missing the game due to some minor injuries and the birth...

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