Tag Archives: analytics

NRL Tips – Round 6, 2019

It’s a short post from me but it’s a big weekend of football:

  • Most games for the QCup will be on Thursday night with the Easter weekend ahead (I’ll be at Langlands watching the Magpies get pummelled)
  • Top of the table clash between Sydney and Melbourne on Friday night
  • Port Moresby is hosting a triple header with Digicel Cup teams playing either side of the Hunters
  • Potential spoon bowl down the Gold Coast
  • Bankwest Stadium opens Monday with a western Sydney derby
  • Matt Moylan revenge game, although he won’t actually be participating

What a time to be alive.

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The Renaissance of South Sydney

On their return to the competition in 2002, South Sydney sucked. A lot. The 2003 and 2006 Rabbitohs were among the worst all-time NRL sides, winning just three games a piece. In 2007, the tide turned with a moderately successful recruitment drive, lifting Souths to a .500 win percentage. Souths would be just on the cusp of finals places for the next few years before securing Michael Maguire as coach and turning into a powerhouse (powerhouse Maguire years marked in cardinal).

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In 2012, the Rabbitohs played their first finals series since 2007, appearing in a run of three preliminary finals in a row before winning the grand final in 2014 and breaking a 43 year premiership drought. In 2015, the club was bundled out in the first week of the post-season. Two very average seasons followed.

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NRL Tips – Round 5, 2019

Interesting to note this week that the first half of the NRL round will be played in Queensland, with Souths having taken a home game against the Warriors to the Sunshine Coast while Brisbane, Gold Coast and North Queensland all have home games.

Easts and the Sunshine Coast Falcons will be playing what I assume is a curtain raiser and will be the biggest clash of the Intrust Super Cup this weekend, so should be worth checking out if you’re there anyway.

It’s a rare highlight for Queensland rugby league, which is currently struggling with:

  • The Queensland clubs occupying three of the bottom four places on the NRL ladder with no hope on the horizon
  • Not being the defending Origin champs for the first time in a while
  • Back-to-back smashings at the NRL State Championships
  • Tweed Heads will probably win the Queensland Cup

At least we have the NRLW premiers and a Universities team that hasn’t lost in years.

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Rolling the rugby league dice: the value of the short kick off

At one end of the scale, we have every NRL team. At the top level, we only see the short kick off when the clock is winding down and the team kicking off desperately needs points to remain in contention for the win. At the other end of the scale, we have the Ipswich Jets, coached by Shane and Ben Walker, who will indiscriminately use short kick-offs, short drop-outs and taking the two when it makes no sense to do so because that’s Walkerology. Are the Walker Brothers on to something that everyone else is missing?

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In 2018, I recorded a few outcomes for 1,000 sets of six. This sounds like a lot but it’s actually the equivalent of about twelve games of football. I looked at where the set started, what the end result of the set was (e.g. error, score, fifth tackle kick) and a few other details.

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NRL Tips – Round 4, 2019

The photo below is unrelated to this week’s tips (except for the first one). The NRLW doesn’t start for months. Well, that of course assumes

  • that the crippling $400,000 per season that it costs to run a women’s team isn’t too big a burden for the biggest clubs in the competition that are supported by an annual grant from the NRL of $13 million
  • the clubs remember that their raison d’etre is playing football
  • the attendance at a free game of AFL doesn’t crush all other women’s sport in this country because what would be the point of continuing in the face of 53,000 people turning up to an event?

I mean, we could go on about how the AFLW had inferior ratings, inferior average attendances and offers no opportunities for representative footy compared to the NRLW but that would be petty #codewarz garbage. Why would anyone waste their time with that?

Now let’s get back to expansion and relocation. How anyone written anything about that lately? My plan is…

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NRL Tips – Round 3, 2019

It’s very early days in the 2019 premiership but injuries seem to be taking their toll early. Medial collateral ligaments have replaced syndesmosis as the blessure du jour. We haven’t even seen Kyle Feldt or Wade Graham yet and now we’re missing the likes of Jason Taumalolo, Tyson Frizell, Ash Taylor and Brett Morris.

For our tipping purposes, the obvious place these major outs would be noted is in xPPG, which tracks the personnel named on Team Sheet Tuesday and forms a tip based on their previous performances as measured in terms of Production Per Game.

This week, we see teams rated on a range from 25.0 to 31.5, which is a variation of 25% across the entire league. Interestingly, unless teams are particularly close, a major in or out at a key position might still not be enough to shift the tip. Cronk missed a game for the Roosters last week, taking about 10% of the team’s expected production with him. Even if his replacement, Lachlan Lam, had also missed the game, xPPG still would have tipped Sydney over Manly. That would later prove to be correct, even though Lam did end up having a pretty average game in production terms (that’s pretty good for a first timer though).

In the medium term, though, we’ll see some of these absences reflect themselves in changes in form ratings, with potential to surprise on the upside, like Jake Clifford did for the Cowboys last year, as well as downside risks, e.g. Ryley Jacks coming in for Ash Taylor at the Titans. In the longer term, this will also be reflected in Poseidon ratings as teams improve/struggle to score/defend. I update the ratings every Monday here, which might be worth keeping an eye on to get a relatively objective sense of the magnitude of these outs.

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Which NRL team performs best in the wet?

With the wet start to the 2019 season, there’s discussion about the tactics and competence of teams playing the wet. The Bulldogs seem to have the best reputation for playing in the wet, although I’m not sure where this originated from. After some prompting on social media, I decided to do a bit of investigation.

Over the off-season, I spent some time collecting individual match stats from the NRL website, from season 2013 through to the end of 2018. In that dataset, the NRL identified 176 games where the weather was recorded as “rain”, “showers”, “light rain” or “rain and thunder”.

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