Tag Archives: nrl

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 Tips – Round 9, 2019

It’s Magic Round, baby! I am very excited to be attending seven out of the eight games (please just make it eight games in three days next year, preferably aligning with the Labour Day weekend) and we found out this week on NRL.com that Magic Round is staying in Queensland for at least the next two years. Despite protestations for the kind of people who have to be quoted in AlTeRnAtiNg CaPs, this is a good thing.

The idea is for the NRL to sell the event to the highest bidder moving forward, as a diverse revenue stream, but they need to establish the concept in Australia first. Holding it in Brisbane does this because it is an established rugby league market and placates the Queensland government somewhat for not getting the hosting rights to the NRL grand final at any point before the end of time. Attendances are not that important to the overall success of the event because the state government is paying the NRL and the NRL in turn pays the teams for giving up their home games. Nonetheless, 125,000 people are expected, which is roughly 20% more than the eight “host” clubs would normally draw in aggregate.

It’s not being held in Sydney for a couple of obvious reasons:

  1. Why would the Queensland government pay to host an event in Sydney?
  2. Sydney already gets around 100+ NRL games and these are poorly attended compared to non-Sydney matches.
  3. Seriously, shut the fuck up. Sometimes things happen outside of Sydney.

On to the tipping, given that this weekend’s games are being played at one venue, I’ve taken the unprecedented step of manually removing home ground advantage from the tipping systems (even for the Broncos, who technically have an away fixture). The net result is that the team on the left would normally be handed an advantage of 40 to 60 Elo rating points, which translates to about 4% winning percentage for Archimedes and about 6% for Eratosthenes. I made some smaller modifications for Poseidon but did not completely remove the home ground advantage because it would have been too difficult to do for a one-off. xPPG remains unaffected.

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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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The young forwards are not to blame for the Broncos’ demise

To not put too fine a point on it, the Broncos have been shockingly bad in 2019. Riding the hype train in this year, they were touted as premiership contenders (disclosure: including by me).

The Broncos have won just two games. One was against a Cowboys side that is facing similar struggles and another against a Sharks team bereft of its star power. The other six games have been losses, ranging from a late field goal from Corey Norman sealing the win for the Dragons, to thirty-two point demolitions at the hands of Easts and then again from Souths.

The finger pointing has begun. The Broncos’ extremely youthful pack has come in for criticism, both for a lack of go-forward and a lack of consistency.

The statistics tell a different story.

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NRL Tips – Round 8, 2019

The big news of the last couple of days is that Kodi Nikorima is set to leave the Broncos and join the Warriors. Those of us who are Broncos fans are pretty happy about it, although I’d be happier if we were getting one of the Warriors’ three halves in return and not blooding an eighteen year old in his place. A bit of experience combined with some competence (*ahem*Blake Green) wouldn’t go astray at the moment.

If you’re wondering what Nikorima’s regular season PPG/all season WARG slashline looks like:

  • 2015: 17 games, PPG .064, WARG -0.1
  • 2016: 16 games, PPG .069, WARG 0.0
  • 2017: 16 games, PPG .084, WARG +0.1
  • 2018: 23 games, PPG .085, WARG +0.2
  • 2019: 7 games, PPG .087

Those numbers suggest that he’s fine at what he does, and indeed improving, but he won’t be challenging for a place in the Hall of Fame. I wouldn’t have thought he was even rep material based on his slashline but he is New Zealand’s starting halfback, a position I think he will struggle to hold with the rise of Chanel Harris-Tavita.

That said, he was on a relatively low salary so represented value for money for Brisbane. He would struggle to find a contract under a points-based cap system. Whether he brings that value to Auckland at twice the price for the next three years remains to be seen.

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Are the Warriors the most inconsistent team in the NRL?

Despite being set an 18 point line, the Warriors managed to run the Storm close on ANZAC Day in Melbourne. Were it not for a dubious decision or two in the closing phase of the game, the Aucklanders might have left AAMI Park with the win. That led to people, including me, wondering out loud via social media where that level of play had come from, especially compared to some of the Warriors’ earlier displays this season.

Some people suggested the Warriors in Melbourne was a Thing. We only need to remember last year’s 50-10 drubbing to dispel that but also recall that the Warriors have a 7-13-1 record in Melbourne, with an average margin of thirteen points in the Storm’s favour.

So what gives?

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NRL Tips – Round 7, 2019

In what seems like fairly tame news compared to recent months, Phil Gould has been ousted from the Panthers. I don’t particularly care for Gould but that’s because he’s a massive gronk and cranky old man in the commentary box.

I don’t have any strong opinions about his ability as a club executive, largely because I wasn’t paying much attention to rugby league for most of his tenure. Plenty have pointed out Penrith’s successes in reforming their pathways (see last year’s U18 national championship and NRL State Championship wins) while others claim the club had a losing record under his command, along with some frankly bizarre personnel decisions (see punting the coach a few weeks out from the 2018 finals to keep a somewhat above-average halfback happy).

I will point to the club’s class graph, because that’s the kind of thing that can be used for, and from 2012 onwards, we see an unmistakable and steady uptick in performance. At one point, it looked like the pieces were in place for a premiership.

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It’ll be interesting to see where Penrith go from here. My hope is that the resolution of the blatant conflict of interest in having a club executive commentate from a national platform will help slightly improve the coverage of the game (remember the 90 second infomercial for Oak at half time of a Panthers game that was presented as part of the Channel 9 broadcast?). I don’t mind bias in commentators within limits but that’s taking the piss.

In other news, you might notice the tip sheet format has changed. This is an attempt to make it a bit clearer and faster to put together. I think I’ve been successful but let me know if you believe otherwise.

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