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Stat Geekery request... tries by tackle number


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Does anyone know if the data exist for tries scored by tackle number - either SL or NRL and any amount of seasons etc. Interested to see where the majority of tries are scored in a set, but a Google search hasn't given me much.

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On 16/04/2021 at 23:20, The Frying Scotsman said:

i saw some stats a few years ago. Over 70% of tries were coming from kicks.

If you do find the data, it would be good if you could share here.

I find that number difficult to belive as it is extremely high. Would you be able to find a source for this?

I did find this analysis for the 2019 NRL season which seems very comprehensive which says that out of 1,274 tries in the season, 328 were scored from kicks (or approximately 25.75%).  That feels much more likely for me.

https://www.reddit.com/r/nrl/comments/dyswzs/the_2019_nrl_ladder_if_tries_scored_from_kicks/?utm_source=amp&utm_medium=&utm_content=post_body

 

Edited by Dunbar
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Either the 3rd or 4th when the teams have worked towards a part of the field for a set move, certainly a few years ago when the game was more structured (but some teams now use the 4th to set up for the kick) or again the last tackle kick. So we've narrowed it down to the laqt 3 tackles😁

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On 17/04/2021 at 06:46, zylya said:

Does anyone know if the data exist for tries scored by tackle number - either SL or NRL and any amount of seasons etc. Interested to see where the majority of tries are scored in a set, but a Google search hasn't given me much.

It`s a good question and further to that I would be very interested to know if there was any patterns in when tries were scored during the game. I remember watching a soccer WC a long time ago, and if you missed the first 5 minutes after half-time, chances are you would miss a goal. I always put it down to a dip in concentration, I wonder if there is something similar in League or certainly any other patterns.

It`s the sort of information you would think that coaches would find interesting, especially in regard to interchange rotation and general concentration levels throughout games as well.

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I have been looking to see if I can find an answer to the question of which tackles most tries are scored on.  I have drawn a blank on that specific point.

But, for anyone interested in analysis of our sport I found this... and for a bit of a stats geek it is far too much even for me.

143477019.pdf (core.ac.uk)

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On 18/04/2021 at 09:25, Dunbar said:

I find that number difficult to belive as it is extremely high. Would you be able to find a source for this?

I did find this analysis for the 2019 NRL season which seems very comprehensive which says that out of 1,274 tries in the season, 328 were scored from kicks (or approximately 25.75%).  That feels much more likely for me.

https://www.reddit.com/r/nrl/comments/dyswzs/the_2019_nrl_ladder_if_tries_scored_from_kicks/?utm_source=amp&utm_medium=&utm_content=post_body

 

Based on my years watching the game around a quarter is certainly a much more believable figure. 75% just sounds ridiculous, no one that watches Rugby League would think it was anywhere near that high. The only people I have ever heard pretend that most RL tries come from kicks are RU trolls.

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7 minutes ago, Damien said:

Based on my years watching the game around a quarter is certainly a much more believable figure. 75% just sounds ridiculous, no one that watches Rugby League would think it was anywhere near that high. The only people I have ever heard pretend that most RL tries come from kicks are RU trolls.

Indeed , and that somehow it’s not as skilled , whereas in reality the precision of the kick and often the taking possession by the winger takes tremendous execution and skill 

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2 hours ago, Dunbar said:

I have been looking to see if I can find an answer to the question of which tackles most tries are scored on.  I have drawn a blank on that specific point.

But, for anyone interested in analysis of our sport I found this... and for a bit of a stats geek it is far too much even for me.

143477019.pdf (core.ac.uk)

I looked at this paper (among others) a few months back when I went into a deep-dive on RL analytics. I wish they had just concentrated on within match variables as ultimately that is the stuff useful to coaches and players, you can't change the league form. While this would be useful from a gambling POV, I don't know how much info it adds otherwise. 

I actually managed to do similar as in the paper, and predicted around 80% of NRL/NSW Cup/QLD Cup winners using similar techniques while not giving any consideration to things like home team or form. The main thing I struggled with is defence - fundamentally the defensive stats are almost useless. The more tackles you make, the more likely you are to lose (and lose more heavily) - controlling for this is very difficult and almost means that any predictive model is very attack-biased!

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4 hours ago, Damien said:

Based on my years watching the game around a quarter is certainly a much more believable figure. 75% just sounds ridiculous, no one that watches Rugby League would think it was anywhere near that high. The only people I have ever heard pretend that most RL tries come from kicks are RU trolls.

I have no idea where the data came from, or what competition it referred to. It just stuck in my head as the figure (over 70%) seemed high I would agree. It was a good few years ago.

The rest of your 'single fish' response is the sort of snidey insinuation that one has come to expect from one or two specific individuals on here. I watch Rugby League all the time, NRL and Super League. I am certainly not a "union troll". I asked above if someone could post the data as I follow (superficially) quite a bit of Rugby League analytics, and get frustrated by the lack of fan engagement around the more technical aspects of the game.  

I do think though that it says a lot about the sport that this data isn't easily available.  Say what you like about union, but info as to where their tries come from is very easy to find - I stumbled across it while googling zylya's original question.

 

 

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12 hours ago, DavidM said:

Indeed , and that somehow it’s not as skilled , whereas in reality the precision of the kick and often the taking possession by the winger takes tremendous execution and skill 

Indeed, the short kicking game of players these days is fantastic. Wingers are also much more skilled, all round players than years gone by too, whether that is taking position from kicks, getting the ball down or simply making the hard yards.

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Many NRL teams seem to have a data analytics person, and they have things like GPS data + transactions (tackle, pass etc.) for each player. The data is just not made public. They ran a datajam event a year or two back where a team with no RL knowledge came up with some interesting statistics about the importance of lateral movement in both attack and defence. Teams that move sideways more win more games.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-12/data-reveals-importance-of-lateral-movement-rugby-league/12048398

Even 3 decades back I remember a top coach being able to quote statistics on the percentage chance of kicking a penalty from a certain distance out versus his team's chances of scoring from a set starting from the same position, and concluding that the percentage play was usually not to kick. I've heard NRL defence coaches quoting statistics on how often a particular player ends up out of position, how often a defender wins a slow play-the-ball and so on, so clearly there is a lot more data available than is made public. 

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Thanks all - I tried emailing the guy at NRL Pythago to see if he had any data on this but didn't hear back.

I think I'm going to have to watch some games and start counting myself if I want this info...

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Ask Phil Clark he seems to spouts facts and figures off. Hasn't he in the past analysed the game statistically.

Remember his prediction tool on what % chance a team has of winning during various stages of a game. 

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You would probably only need to watch one round. The NRL averages around 55 tries a week this year so it's possible you'll see a clear trend. The main question will be how you count restarted sets - is the second tackle on a set restarted at the 4th tackle the second or is it the sixth?

Maybe have 2 categories: "normal" sets and restarted or "extended" sets.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Farmduck said:

You would probably only need to watch one round. The NRL averages around 55 tries a week this year so it's possible you'll see a clear trend. The main question will be how you count restarted sets - is the second tackle on a set restarted at the 4th tackle the second or is it the sixth?

Maybe have 2 categories: "normal" sets and restarted or "extended" sets.

 

 

Great question, would probably do it in categories - obviously player behaviour changes over the course of a set, likely based on tackles remaining rather than specifically what number (e.g. when I played our wingers would drop on 4th). 

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On 19/04/2021 at 19:41, DavidM said:

Indeed , and that somehow it’s not as skilled , whereas in reality the precision of the kick and often the taking possession by the winger takes tremendous execution and skill 

maybe but I still think its used as the last chance option when unable to break through with passing through the hands/creating through dummy runs or slight of hand or bamboozling the defender with footwork, etc etc etc.... 

if that was all the game was about I'd soon switch off from the sport... thankfully it isn't

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6 minutes ago, redjonn said:

maybe but I still think its used as the last chance option when unable to break through with passing through the hands/creating through dummy runs or slight of hand or bamboozling the defender with footwork, etc etc etc.... 

if that was all the game was about I'd soon switch off from the sport... thankfully it isn't

I don’t think it’s always either /or . You’ll see good attacking sets meeting good defence that end with a kick play , but I get your point entirely . You’ll see plenty of sets where it looks like they might as well go right to play 5 , with the one out drives and play by numbers predictable stuff . But the precision and execution of the kick play at the end still needs to be spot on . I agree with your last point but as you say hopefully that’s a long way off 

Edited by DavidM
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Pythago NRL got back to me with some data - not something that he's looked at before himself, but had these stats from 2016 & 2017 NRL:

Play # Tries
0 97
1 303
2 188
3 474
4 557
5 611
6 615

That's play number, rather than tackle number - so 0 refers to things like intercepts, loose balls scooped up as well (I believe) as 0 tackles. 6 would be after a 5-and-last call. Obviously this all pre-dates 6 again which may skew the results. Interesting that Tackle 2 is significantly lower than both 1 and 3 - I wonder if there's an element of people treating tackle 2 as a "safety" play and having a lot more hit-up style plays.

No data within this of how many are kick vs pass.

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3 minutes ago, zylya said:

Pythago NRL got back to me with some data - not something that he's looked at before himself, but had these stats from 2016 & 2017 NRL:

Play # Tries
0 97
1 303
2 188
3 474
4 557
5 611
6 615

That's play number, rather than tackle number - so 0 refers to things like intercepts, loose balls scooped up as well (I believe) as 0 tackles. 6 would be after a 5-and-last call. Obviously this all pre-dates 6 again which may skew the results. Interesting that Tackle 2 is significantly lower than both 1 and 3 - I wonder if there's an element of people treating tackle 2 as a "safety" play and having a lot more hit-up style plays.

No data within this of how many are kick vs pass.

I think these stats are very interesting.

I wonder if the relatively high number on tackle 1 is because if a turnover or lost possession in a team's own half would lead to the opposition looking to attack quickly.  Or maybe a turnover such as an intercept may result in a try on the next play not just tackle 1.

But the most important for me is that the distribution of tries across plays 3 through 6 is a lot more even than perhaps would be expected.  Lot's of thinking on here describes modern players and tactics as 'robotic' with 5 drives and a kick etc... but so many tries on play 3 and 4 suggest that teams are more ambitious than we maybe give them credit for.

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2 hours ago, zylya said:

Pythago NRL got back to me with some data - not something that he's looked at before himself, but had these stats from 2016 & 2017 NRL:

Play # Tries
0 97
1 303
2 188
3 474
4 557
5 611
6 615

That's play number, rather than tackle number - so 0 refers to things like intercepts, loose balls scooped up as well (I believe) as 0 tackles. 6 would be after a 5-and-last call. Obviously this all pre-dates 6 again which may skew the results. Interesting that Tackle 2 is significantly lower than both 1 and 3 - I wonder if there's an element of people treating tackle 2 as a "safety" play and having a lot more hit-up style plays.

No data within this of how many are kick vs pass.

So - if 6 is "after a 5 and last call", what is 1?

We have a separate stat for zero tackle scores, so 1 must be.....?

I'm struggling to get my head round this.

Edited by The Frying Scotsman
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2 hours ago, The Frying Scotsman said:

So - if 6 is "after a 5 and last call", what is 1?

We have a separate stat for zero tackle scores, so 1 must be.....?

I'm struggling to get my head round this.

It's play, not tackle, which I believe is basically a tap or a play-the-ball.

So play 0 happens if there's no play - e.g. intercept, loose ball.

Play 1 happens before tackle 1 - think this would include 0-tackle calls and taps (e.g. penalties, tap 20 etc)

Play 2 happens before tackle 2.

Play 6 happens after a 5 and last call, but before tackle 6.

 

Not sure whether a caught kick would count as Play 0 or Play 1.

This is just the data I have - I haven't seen any additional info so couldn't tell you exactly what it means.

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1 minute ago, zylya said:

It's play, not tackle, which I believe is basically a tap or a play-the-ball.

So play 0 happens if there's no play - e.g. intercept, loose ball.

Play 1 happens before tackle 1 - think this would include 0-tackle calls and taps (e.g. penalties, tap 20 etc)

Play 2 happens before tackle 2.

Play 6 happens after a 5 and last call, but before tackle 6.

 

Not sure whether a caught kick would count as Play 0 or Play 1.

This is just the data I have - I haven't seen any additional info so couldn't tell you exactly what it means.

Thanks - that clarifies a bit. I was pretty lost TBH!

For 303 tries to have happened before tackle 1, it surely must include caught kicks... No?

I think you need to understand the data, as otherwise it's guesswork.

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Just now, The Frying Scotsman said:

Thanks - that clarifies a bit. I was pretty lost TBH!

For 303 tries to have happened before tackle 1, it surely must include caught kicks... No?

I think you need to understand the data, as otherwise it's guesswork.

Yeah, definitely, although there's some understanding to be gleamed from the later parts of the set.

It was just a random thought, but my main hope was to understand:

1. How many tries are scored from turnover (loose ball/intercept/ball steal etc)

2. Whether the majority of tries are scored earlier or later in a set

Common "wisdom" would generally dictate that more tries are scored towards the end of the set, but that's because we see a lot of sets completed in the game (5+kick). However, not every try is scored off a kick, and it's also rare to see power plays that are successful, so the end of set may be confirmation bias.

I also want to understand how much player behaviour factors into that - when I played amateur, tackle 1 and 2 were generally a hit up - low chance of scoring and we'd open up more around tackle 3/4. My thinking was then to understand whether it was a lack of risk by attackers early in the set, or if defenders defended better earlier in a set (e.g. maybe better set up). One of them would give the opportunity for teams to attack earlier, the other would promote teams attacking later in the set.

Really just for my own interest - not sure I've got the understanding I want, but at least can see a little bit more of it.

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