NRLW Advanced Stats – 2018 and 2019 seasons

If you’re a regular reader of the Eye Testtm, you’ll be (somewhat) familiar with the advanced statistics I use to analyse players throughout and across each NRL season. And now, they’re also available for previous NRLW seasons.

What do these statistics show? The issue is that generally middle forwards don’t play big minutes or put up big numbers and go unnoticed besides the odd comment about how much of an impact they make. To do so I created three advanced statistics for rugby league – Tackle %, Run % and Involvement Rate.

  1. Tackle % estimates the percentage of opponent plays whilst on field where a player completed a tackle.
  2. Run % estimates the percentage of team plays where a player completed a run during their time on field.
  3. Involvement Rate combines them and estimates the percentage of total plays a player completed a run or tackle whilst on the field.

If you want to read more about them, I’ve linked the explanations of them from the site.

Now I’ve explained them, let’s see how NRLW positions compare for these statistics to their NRL equivalents and look back at some top performers within each statistic from the past two NRL seasons. I would like to note that we’re dealing with some very small sample sizes, and even with a lenient minute restriction of 40 minutes I would still take these as indicative rather than representative of performances. Also, “current team” may also mean “previous team” for someone not playing NRLW currently, which is one of the issues looking at multiple seasons of data at once. Anyway, lets move on to the analysis.

Tackle %

There’s not a huge difference between the NRL and NRLW for Tackle %. Hookers and Locks are making tackles at the same rate, around 25-25%, indicating they complete a tackle on one in four defensive plays. Props and interchange players still sit over 20%, but around 4% lower than their NRL counterparts. This could indicate that a lot of the basic hit up work could be centered less on the middle of the field.

Positions on either edge of the field are similar as well, other than Second Row being down over 2% and Five Eight being up almost 2%, which given that they defend in the same spot could cancel each other out. Fullback is slightly higher as well at 4% for NRLW compared to 2.8% for NRL.

Who are the top NRLW players for Tackle % then? Below are the top 15 players by Tackle % for seasons 2018 & 2019 who played at least 40 total minutes.

Kate Haren formely of the Dragons leads the way with a Tackle % of 43% from her two games, indicating that she made a tackle on two out of every five defensive plays whilst on the field. Aliti Namoce who last plaeyd for Roosters placed second at 31.45% and Talesha Quinn who also last played for he Dragons came in third at 31.32%.

Rebecca Young from the Roosters was the only other player to have a tackle rate above 30%. As noted above, the average Tackle % for middle forwards is about 20-25% so each of these players are tackling well above average for their position.

One of the interesting differences here compared to the NRL is seeing Second Rowers at the top of this list, which is usually just middle forwards for the NRL. In addition to Namoce, Lorina Papali’I (29.38%) and Holli Wheeler (25.93%) also make the top 15 whilst playing in the second row. Again, the average for second rowers is 16.2%, which puts Namoce’s tackle rate almost twice as high the average second rower.

Run %

Looking at the average Run % across positions for the NRLW against the NRL, there’s not as much variance as there was for Tackle %. Differences fall between 0.5% to 1% for most positions, and the only significant change is at lock, where NRL players make a run on 10% of plays, whilst NRLW locks make a run on 7%.

So, who has the highest run rate among all NRLW players who played at least 40 minutes across 2018 & 2019?

Ngatotokotoru Arakua takes first place with a Run % of 20.92%, meaning she completes a run on at least two out of every five plays the Dragons used the ball. Second place is Chloe Caldwell from the Roosters at 20.45%, the only other player above 20%. Another former Rooster in Elianna Walton picks up third place with a run rate of 17.99%.

With the average Run % for middle forwards sitting in the 10-12% range, anyone over 15% is putting in an elite amount of work.

It’s also worth noting that new Dragons signing Isabelle Kelly at centre was extremely close to making this top 15, sitting only 0.15% outside with a run rate of 12.04% which is exceptional for a centre.

Involvement Rate

Given that Involvement Rate is a combination of Tackle % and Run %, it would make sense that any changes we saw in the previous two statistics would be reflected here as well.

Involvement Rates for middle forwards are slightly down as was exhibited with Tackle % rates. NRLW Prop forwards suffer the biggest drop at 2% compared to their NRL counterparts, otherwise things are relatively consistent.

The top 15 players in the NRL for Involvement Rate from the 2018 and 2019 seasons who played at least 40 minutes are shown below.

Kate Haren takes top spot here, as she did with tackle %, with an Involvement Rate of 26.37%, meaning she completed a run or a tackle on one in every four plays whilst she was on the field. Ngatotokotoru Arakua came in second with an Involvement Rate of 21.97% while Chloe Caldwell rounded out the top three with an Involvement Rate of 21.42%.

Brisbane halfback Tarryn Aiken is also worth mentioning, sitting in 19th place with an involvement Rate of 17.25% in a list that is dominated by middle forwards. This is mainly due to her running game, as she sits just outside the leaders in Run % with a run rate of 10.23%.

NRL Round 20 advanced stats – Involvement Rate

Involvement Rate is an advanced statistic for rugby league that I created to identify players who have a high workload but don’t play a lot of minutes. If you’re new to the site and want to understand how it works, I would recommend reading this post on Involvement Rate.

With that out of the way, here’s the all minutes leaders for Round 20

It’s the single digit crew again after these three took over the Run % chart. The Raiders Jarret Subloo sits first (49.23%) ahead of Jake Friend (33.97%) and Daniel Alvaro (28.66%).

The highest double figure minutes player was Aaron Woods at 27.77%.

Next, we’ll look at those players who spent 40 minutes or more on field

Alex Twal takes first place in Involvement Rate after taking first in Tackle % as well. This time his Involvement Rate was 26.48% meaning he made a tackle or run in over a quarter of all plays whilst on field for the Tigers against the Eels.

James Tamou from Penrith placed next with a rate of 24.61% and Christian Welch was next with an Involvement Rate of 22.61%. Nathan Brown was the only 80 minute player on the leader board this week with an Involvement Rate of 19.11% in his full game.

There’s that Darren Schonig again, popping up at the bottom of the leader board with 18.61% in 44 minutes. Always a good sign when a high workload player can maintain that in extended minutes.

Finally, we have the leaders for Involvement Rate this season.

No changes here with Jaimin Jolliffe snaring first place for the season with an Involvement Rate of 21.93%. A huge effort for the rookie and things continue to look up for the Titans in 2021. Despite not playing, he managed to hold off Jai Whitbread who again snuck into the top three after not qualifying with enough minutes beforehand, with a rate of 21.79%.

Third place went to the Warriors Jazz Tevaga at 21.39%, however he was only 0.02% ahead of the Dragons Blake Lawrie and 0.03% ahead of Melbourne’s Christian Welch.

NRL Round 19 advanced stats – Involvement Rate

Involvement Rate is an advanced statistic for rugby league that I created to identify players who have a high workload but don’t play a lot of minutes. If you’re new to the site and want to understand how it works, I would recommend reading this post on Involvement Rate.

With that out of the way, here’s the all minutes leaders for Round 19

After leading the Tackle % chart, it’s no surprise to see North Queensland’s Emry Pere first for Involvement Rate as well, at 30.33% for the round. This indicates he made a run or completed a tackle on 30.33% of all plays during the Cowboys loss to Penrith.

Second place was Warriors debutant Tom Ale who had an Involvement Rate of nearly 28% in his 12 minutes, whilst Andrew Fifita

Next, we’ll look at those players who spent 40 minutes or more on field in Round 19.

As with Tackle % the leader takes the cake again here. New Zealand’s Lachlan Burr is in first with an Involvement Rate of 26.41%. The Sharks Toby Rudolf nabbed second spot with a rate of 23.32% while the Roosters Lindsay Collins rounds out the top three at 23.17%.

Patrick Carrigan is the only 80 minute player in the leader board this week with an Involvement Rate of 20.12% as the Broncos lost again to the Eels.

Finally, we have the leaders for Involvement Rate for 2020 with one game remaining.

With Jaimin Jolliffe not playing for the Gold Coast this round he still sits first at 21.93%, with New Zealand’s Jazz Tevaga not far behind at 21.69%. The Titans Jarrod Wallace preserves his third spot at 21.39% but has Blake Lawrie from the Dragons breathing down neck, just 0.03% behind at 21.36%.

There’s another five players sitting just behind Lawrie between 21.24% and 21.13%, and any one of them could move into the podium with a high workload game in Round 20.

NRL Round 18 advanced stats – Involvement Rate

Involvement Rate is an advanced statistic for rugby league that I created to identify players who have a high workload but don’t play a lot of minutes. If you’re new to the site and want to understand how it works, I would recommend reading this post on Involvement Rate.

With that out of the way, here’s the all minutes leaders for Round 18

Spencer Leinu again causes some issues at the top of the chart, so lets skip him. The Tigers’ Jacob Liddle ends up in first for Round 18 with an Involvement Rate of 31.61%. A pair of Eels sit in second and third, although playing for different clubs this week. Parramatta’s Kane Evens is second with 28.49% while Daniel Alvaro playing for the Warriors had an Involvement Rate of 25.72%.

There’s that Darren Schonig again in eighth at 23.97%. Not big minutes like last time with just 16 compared to mid 30’s, but it does show a consistency of effort. Just how do the Storm find these players…

Next, we’ll look at those players who spent 40 minutes or more on field

He did it last week and he’s done it again, although in a different manner. Melbourne’s Tino Fa’asuamaleaui is top dog for the second straight week with an Involvement Rate of 23.26%. Last week his Run % led to first place, whilst this week he put in a mountain of defense at lock to claim #1. The Cowboys Josh McGuire ranked second with an Involvement Rate of 23.10% while the Raiders Hudson Young ranked third at 22.35%.

Finally, we have the leaders for Involvement Rate this season.

Jaimin Jolliffe, the Titans rookie prop maintains first place at 21.93%. Given he will miss the remainder of the season due to injury, it’s likely he’ll hang onto top spot. Jazz Tevaga looked like challenging him last week but has dropped to nearly 0.4% behind from 0.2% and may drop further if his minutes stay high. Blake Lawrie from the Dragons is third at 21.51% but has a slew of players right behind him chasing a spot on the podium.

NRL Round 17 advanced stats – Inolvement Rate

Involvement Rate is an advanced statistic for rugby league that I created to identify players who have a high workload but don’t play a lot of minutes. Traditional rugby league statistics are counting stats and volume based, and the important work of middle and interchange forwards in the NRL goes largely unrecognised.

If you’re new to the site and want to understand how it works, I would recommend reading this post on Involvement Rate. To put it simply, it is a combination of Run % and Tackle % which shows the estimated percentage of plays that someone completed a run or tackle during their time on field.

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 Daniel Alvaro, Christian Welch, Blake Lawrie, Moeaki Fotuaika, Toby Rudolf and Francis Molo.

With that out of the way, here’s the all minutes leaders for Round 17

Just like he did with the Tackle % stats this round, Phoenix Crossland (or should that be Adam O’Brien?) ruins everything with three minutes on field for four involvement, with an Involvement Rate of 30.74%.

Chris Lewis from the Storm takes second place, with an inovlvment rate of 25.44%, meaning he either completed a tackle or made a run on a quarter of all plays during his time on field. St George Illawarra forward Josh Kerr came in third with an Involvement Rate of 25.23%.

Melbourne forwards were particularly active this week with three players in side the top 10 along with Lewis, as Tino Faasuamaleaui (24.10%) and Eye Testtm legend Christian Welch (23.70%) also placed highly.

Next, we’ll look at those players who spent 40 minutes or more on field

It’s a double for the Storm, with Faasuamaleaui taking top spot for those who played at least half a game, sporting an Involvement Rate of 24.10%. This indicates he was involved in nearly one in four plays whilst on the field. From the same game, Welch placed second and wasn’t far behind with a rate of 23.70%. Another Dragon placed third, but this time it was Blake Lawrie who had an Involvement Rate of 23.69% in his 50 minutes against the Cowboys.

Finally, we have the leaders for Involvement Rate this season.

Impressive Titans rookie Jaimin Jolliffe finally passed his teammate Jarrod Wallace, mainly due to a short stint on the field – Jolliffe only played 10 high energy minutes. He now sits in first with a season Inovlvement Rate of 21.93%, with Wallace slightly behind at 21.58%.

The bigger news is that Jazz Tevaga from the New Zealand Warriors has split the Titans pair, moving into second with a season Involvement Rate of 21.72%. With a few more high motor games he could even challenge for first. Broncos forward Rhys Kennedy isn’t far behind Wallace either, with a rate of 21.36%, and should play bigger minutes to close out the season which may even out his workrate.