Tag Archives: national rugby league

Who will win the 2019 NRL Premiership?

At this time of year, is there anything else you want to know more than the answer to this question?

For our crystal ball, we turn to Monte Carlo simulations. These simulations work on the principle that if we know the inputs to a complex system and how they relate to each other, then we can test the outcomes of that system using random numbers to simulate different situations.

At its most basic, just imagine if you simulated the outcome of football matches by rolling dice. Numbers one and two might represent a win for the Gold Coast and numbers three through six might be a win for Wests. If you repeat that a couple of thousand times, not only will you be extremely bored but the Gold Coast will “win” about 33% of the time and Wests 66%.

Now take the same approach for the nine finals games, with the winner advancing per the NRL’s system, but instead of using dice, you generate a random number between zero and one and calculate the win probability using Archimedes (form) Elo ratings. Then repeat it 5,000 times over. The number of times that the Storm or Roosters or Broncos or Eels “win” the premiership across your simulations should give you some insight into the probability of that happening in real life. I call this the Finals Stocky and I present its findings.

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The 40/20

Other than the field goal, there are few more exciting kicking moments in rugby league than the correct execution of a 40/20. The 40/20, meaning that the kick is taken behind the player’s forty metre line, bounces in the field of play and goes into touch inside the opponent’s twenty metre, gives a huge advantage for the kicking team, as it advances the ball forty metres down the field and offers a fresh attacking set.

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Introduced in 1997 for the Super League competition and retained for the NRL, the 40/20 doesn’t happen very often. You might see a successful attempt every five to ten games. Indeed, we see more field goals.

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Just as a bit of a trivial aside, Daly Cherry-Evans has kicked the most 40/20s in the NRL between 2013 and 2018, with sixteen, or one every 8.8 games he has started. The other players in double digits are Chris Sandow (14), Cooper Cronk (12), Cameron Smith (11) and Blake Green (10). Funnily enough, probable Immortal Johnathan Thurston never kicked a 40/20 in this period.

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NRL & ISC Recap – April 2019

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.

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NRL & ISC Recap – March 2019

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.

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NRL Tips – Round 25, 2018

And we made it. It’s last the tips post for 2018. I plan to do a finals preview, once the top eight is actually decided, and maybe one more recap and then that’s it for a while.

Let’s not delay then and get into it.

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NRL Recap – Round 24, 2018

While I was sleeping off my Napa-headbutt-induced apoplexy (again), the Catalans Dragons, from Perpignan in the south of France, won the Challenge Cup at Wembley. They became the first non-English team to do so since the competition’s inception in 1896. It’s an amazing milestone in the game’s reconstruction in France and the slow globlisation of the sport. In the last two seasons, we’ve seen:

  • The first pro rugby league team in the Americas
  • PNG Hunters won the Queensland Cup
  • Fiji and Tonga made the World Cup semi-finals
  • Catalan Dragons won the Challenge Cup

For the rugby league lefties – as Mascord likes to call them – all that’s required now is a Warriors NRL premiership, which remains a possibility but perhaps not likely, the promotion of at least Toronto, if not also London and Toulouse, to the Super League and a couple of successful end of season Tests. Should we at least get a Wolfpack promotion and Test matches, we could call 2018 a qualified success.

And then Souths won a scrum against the feed, which made me forget all the other items of interest that’s happened in the NRL this year, e.g. Immortals, retirements of future Immortals, topsy-turvy results, Blues winning Origin and a new women’s premiership.

What a time to be a rugby league fan.

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Results

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NRL Tips – Round 24, 2018

We’re in the penultimate round of the regular season and can definitely feel the approaching finals footy. There’s still some unfinished business to be resolved, specifically ensuring that the Tigers finish ninth as they are destined to do until the heat death of the universe, or maybe when Jeremy Marshall-King’s backended contract at the Bulldogs forces a transfer to Wests and history can try to repeat with the lesser relative. Or maybe they will have to wait until Benji’s and Robbie’s kids grow up?

In the meantime, my tipping has gone to crap so maybe you should ignore me and go with the Greeks.

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