By the way, it’s not just your imagination. If you, like me, have been wondering whether rugby league is somewhat lopsided so far this year, I don’t think you’re wrong. In the NRL, there are by some metrics only six teams above average and really only two of those – Souths and Easts – are excelling. I look forward to them not playing a grand final because rugby league is too chaotic to allow that to happen.
Also, Penrith are looking decidedly unhealthy. They are spoon favourites and down on more than a few metrics. That’s quite surprising to see the incumbent NSW halves pairing lead around a team that could be the worst in a league that also contains the Bulldogs, Knights, Broncos and Titans.
The Sunshine Coast Falcons dismantled the Souths Logan Magpies 72-4 to continue their unbeaten run. While the scoreline itself was close but not an actual record, this has promoted the Falcons’ form rating to 1663, which is extremely high. For comparison, think North Queensland Cowboys at the end of the 2015 regular season, heading to their first premiership. The 2016 Dolphins, the 2015-16 Blackhawks and the 2013 Pride hit similar marks but it has been largely unprecedented in the fifteen years prior of the Queensland Cup. I suppose this speaks to a greater disparity in talent across the league that wasn’t present in earlier years, even though those early years often resulted in teams folding after winless seasons, which is something of a paradox that I don’t have a resolution for.
Embed from Getty Images
I made a decision a little while ago to forego the weekly recaps. Between doing weekly analysis pieces and a more time consuming tips process, there isn’t a lot of time left over and sprinting through stats every Sunday evening to get a post together for Monday isn’t much fun. It also was difficult to generate new stuff to say every week, especially when the forecasting tracks the form narrative very closely and the Indices didn’t come into play until the second half of the season. Really if you wanted a typical 500 word write-up of the weekend, you could hit up The Roar or Fox League or the NRL website, so I wasn’t adding anything new there. Instead, I want to strip it back to keep to graphs and tables which tell the story of the month that’s been better on their own.
Embed from Getty Images
If you’re wired for numbers, like I am, it can be hard to deal with people’s feelings and understanding why they think the things that they do. That’s why I’ve decided to quantify the feelings a team generates into five distinct indices: Power, Hope, Panic, Fortune and Disappointment.
Each index has two components. There’s a main mechanism for ranking the teams and some minor tie-breaking stats. The main mechanism typically uses Elo ratings to make an estimation of what we expect from a team, whether or not they are meeting that expectation and what that means for the season ahead. The tie-breakers are statistics used to award a few points here and there to help rank the teams should they have similar mechanism results.
Editor’s note: As much of last season’s material was influenced by The Arc, much of this season’s material owes a debt to SB Nation, including the idea of panic/hope indices.