Tag Archives: rugby league

Rugby league’s replacement player

Last week we looked at valuing players, specifically Tom Trbojevic, Daly Cherry-Evans and Addin Fonua-Blake, by their contributions to Manly’s winning ways. There were two problems though:

  1. How do we deal with someone like Marty Taupau? He’s played all of the games this year so we can’t find an understudy to compare him to.
  2. What if your understudy is pretty good? Cherry-Evans looks like he is comparatively less valuable than his colleagues because Kane Elgey is about 20% more productive at halfback than Brendan Elliot or Toafofoa Sipley were at their respective positions.

We should establish a fixed benchmark to compare players against.

Baseball uses the concept of a “replacement level“. I touched on it briefly last week but the rugby league equivalent would be a top level reserve grader who can be acquired for the league’s minimum salary ($105,000 in 2019). By definition, the replacement level player provides the right value for money for that salary. If a player provides less value, they shouldn’t be in first grade because they can’t justify their pay packet. The trick is to find players who provide more value and then pay them accordingly to win games for your club.

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NRL Tips – Round 21, 2019

It was a relatively quiet week for odd rugby league news, so here’s some analytics you might not have seen (mostly from me, yes):

Here are the tips for this weekend’s action:

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Intrust Super Cup

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What makes a million dollar NRL player?

“He’s not worth a million a year!”

-NRL Twitter proverb

The trick in any sport is spending your available bankroll wisely. Soccernomics established that good soccer managers, among other things, bought players low and sold them high and that was at the heart of prolonged success. Moneyball was a two hour long movie with Brad Pitt about signing otherwise valuable players that the market had skipped over. We see that same principle at work in salary capped leagues too, whether it be the New England Patriots, the Melbourne Storm or the Sydney Roosters.

The NRL’s recent increase of salary cap has minted a number of millionaire rugby league players. There is a distinct element in the rugby league fanbase that can’t wrap their heads around players being worth those kinds of dollars.

But they are.

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NRL Tips – Round 20, 2019

I’ll spare you the lengthy and moderately pompous words I had written about cheating. The last week has been dominated by refs faulting to a sickening degree and to a lesser extent, the lack of appreciation of Super League on the Gold Coast.

The announcement of St Helens coach Justin Holbrook as the Titans new head coach has been given the tick by those who know what they’re talking about and less so from those that don’t. The important thing is that the Gold Coast didn’t sign Kevin Walters (<40% win percentage while at Catalans compared to Holbrook’s >70% at St Helens). Hopefully this is the first step in the Titans becoming a real NRL franchise. The people running it honestly make it look a lot harder than it is.

Here’s some other stuff you might have missed:

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NRL Tips – Round 19, 2019

Unrelated to the NRL premiership itself, it’s been a good week for rugby league headlines (except for Ottawa). Here’s what you might have missed:

Not sure if that’s going to be a regular thing but thought I’d share.

Here are the tips for this weekend’s action:

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NRL Tips – Round 18, 2019

In last week’s tips, I talked about potentially going to watch India play Colombia at a suburban junior footy ground in Brisbane. I ended up more or less live tweeting the match.

Despite Colombia’s experience, the Indian side had a size and talent advantage that was clear to see. Their fullback, Shaniyat Chowdhury, plays in the USARL for Brooklyn. The two props, Singh and Kumar, put on life-ending fends on more than one occasion. The Colombians, particularly the halves Vargas and Eastman, couldn’t hold on to the ball. Still, the Jungle Cats scored most of their points in the first fifteen minutes. After that, the game became more closely contested with the Condores tightening up their defence and scoring a few long-range tries.

Is it too soon to call this the new New Zealand vs Tonga, which is itself the new State of Origin? Quite possibly but the players put their whole effort in and tempers got a bit frayed towards the end. More importantly, it was fun (and a little bizarre) to attend with one or two hundred people there, cultural displays and jerseys from around the rugby league world (one guy had a French flag, I wore my Catalans Camp Nou jersey, etc). It’ll need to be replayed regularly to develop into the world’s most unexpected sporting rivalry but, money aside, why not?

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NRL Tips – Round 17, 2019

Between Souths Logan (12th of 14, 3-12-1), Brisbane (14th of 16, 6-9) and Queensland (lost both men’s series and women’s game), rugby league is at serious risk of no longer speaking to me.

Fortunately, there is a light. This Sunday, kicking off at 3PM, India will play Colombia at WJ Scott Park in Holland Park.

(that’s in Brisbane)

(that’s in Queensland, it’s the capital)

(it’s the state north of the Tweed)

(we lost on Wednesday night?)

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