img_20130518_003636What is this?

This blog is about using ELO ratings and some light statistical analysis to find out more about the National Rugby League.

How does it work?

You should go read the primers that explain how the ELO ratings systems come together to form probabilistic models that give us some insight into the game.

What is *insert jargon*?

Read the primers. If it’s not clear, ask on social media and I will try to do a better job of explaining.

Why is *insert your team* not rated better?

Unless you’re a fan of the Storm, it’s probably because your team is not the Storm.

Why “Pythago NRL”?

Pythago is short for Pythagoras. I think that’s what he would’ve been called had he lived in post-1788 Australia and not sixth century BC Greece. Pythagoras is because of Pythagorean expectations. This hopefully also explains for you the right-angled triangle on the site logo.

I then named the ELO rating systems after other Greek mathematicians because once you’ve got a theme, may as well stick with it and using names of current halfbacks as I had originally intended, perhaps would’ve invited some criticism (and been confusing when I said “Johnson is tipping against the Warriors”).

Who are you?

I am, as is painfully clear based on this blog, not an expert in either rugby league or statistics. I am an engineer who is quite handy with an Excel spreadsheet and I did maths in high school, which it turns out is enough to do literally everything I’ve done on this site.

You’re a crappy tipster.

I know. I hope to improve.

This table/graph/pennant/blog looks crappy.

I also know this. You can thank WordPress for about 90% of that.

Why do any of this?

Very broadly, I’ve been finding the combination of sports and numbers increasingly interesting since seeing the Moneyball movie. The book version and Soccernomics showed me that there was a world of – not to put too fine a point on it – dumb people analysing and managing sport that thought they knew what they were doing but really, they didn’t. Then some smart people came along, applied data and skills and changed that. I like that.

So with a some idle intellectual capacity, a generalised interest in sports, business and sports business and the launch of The Arc, I wondered if anyone was doing anything similar for rugby league. It turns out the answer was “Yes but not well” and I decided I’m going to do it better.

Look, I said “better”, not “interesting”.

Who’s your team?

Brisbane, followed at a distance by the other Queensland teams (including Melbourne). I would probably be keen for a second Brisbane team to go for instead of the Broncos but I’ll make do for the time being.

I try not to let this bias what I write.

What else are you into?

I used to write a blog about craft beer. I also run a lot. The Simpsons is pretty good.

How do I get in touch?

Twitter is good. I like shitposting about the NRL.

Or you can use this contact form to send me an email:

Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.