Club Report – Cronulla Sharks

cro-lgBackground

Cronulla won a premiership. You might have heard about it. It was last year. It was also their first since joining the NSWRL premiership in 1967.

The Sharks are also the only team stupid enough to recently get caught in a doping scandal. In the NRL, you’d basically have to leave a box of used syringes with a note saying what was in them on the front doorstep of NRL House and I’m still not sure the authorities would put two and two together. To get pinged for peptide use while not even being good enough to make the finals in 2013 and 2014 is a level of dumbassery unsurpassed in the sport of rugby league.

That aside, prior to those incidents, Cronulla were a journeyman’s team. They were never terrible (only three wooden spoons to their name, two from the early days and one in 2014) but never great (refer lack of premierships, 1967-2015). The Sharks were the home of some top class individuals, including Andrew Ettinghausen, Steve Rogers, Brett Kimmorley and David Peachey. Their current line-up features stars, including Valentine Holmes, and also features some guys that have contributed to multiple Origin losses, like Paul Gallen, James Maloney and Andrew Fifita.

Continue reading “Club Report – Cronulla Sharks”

Analysis – Stocky vs Reality: Did your team outperform? (Pt I)

The Stocky is the main forecasting tool driving the analysis on this site. It’s a simulator of the season ahead, using the Monte Carlo method and based on Elo ratings, that gives insight into the future performance of each club. My main interest has been the number of wins, as it determines ladder positions which in turn have a big impact on the finals. The Stocky might not be able to tell you which games a team will win, but it is good at telling you how many wins are ahead.

But how does a computer simulation (in reality, a very large spreadsheet) compare to reality? To test it, I’ve put together a graph of each team’s performance against what the Stocky projected for them. Each graph shows:

  • The Stocky’s projection for total wins (blue)
  • Converting that projection to a “pace” for that point in the season (red)
  • Comparing that to the actual number of wins (yellow)

It will never be exactly right, particularly as you can only ever win whole numbers of games and the Stocky loves a decimal point, but as we’ll see, the Stocky is not too bad at tracking form and projecting that forward.

This week is Part I, from Brisbane to Newcastle. Part II, from North Queensland to Wests Tigers, will be next week.

Continue reading “Analysis – Stocky vs Reality: Did your team outperform? (Pt I)”

NRL Tips – Round 24, 2017

Only three games to go. There are a couple of finals places still up for grabs, as well as the all important wooden spoon battle, which is proving to be more inspirational than wondering which big market team is going to finish where in the top four.

Draw

gold coast titans-sm Gold Coast (7-14) @ parramatta-sm Parramatta (13-8)

While the Gold Coast melts down over whether they’ll keep their coach or their “star” fullback/centre or boot both or neither, Parramatta have had to spend a week of soul searching after a devastating loss to Newcastle – probably the worst side to play this decade – brought their six game winning streak to a grinding halt.

The question is: Will Parramatta recover? I almost think it’s irrelevant what the Eels do. The real question is: do the Titans even bother to show up or will they follow their erstwhile leader’s example and half ass it? I’m expecting three-quarter ass tops, so the Eels should be able to recover and get their finals campaign on track.

Continue reading “NRL Tips – Round 24, 2017”

NRL Projections Update – Round 23, 2017

Results

souths-sm South Sydney 28 (8-13) d canterbury-sm Canterbury 14 (7-14)

newcastle-sm Newcastle 29 (5-16) d parramatta-sm Parramatta 10 (13-8)

brisbane-sm Brisbane 32 (14-7) d cronulla-sm Cronulla 10 (13-8)

st george illawarra-sm St George Illawarra 42 (11-10) d gold coast titans-sm Gold Coast 16 (7-14)

melbourne-sm Melbourne 16 (16-5) d sydney city-sm Sydney City 13 (14-7)

penrith-sm Penrith 24 (12-9) d north qld-sm North Queensland 16 (12-9)

canberra-sm Canberra 36 (10-11) d warriors-sm New Zealand 16 (7-14)

wests tigers-sm Wests Tigers 30 (6-15) d manly-sm Manly 26 (12-9)

Collated Ladder

Now to look ahead to see what the Collated Ladder has predicted for the final standings of the season.

Melbourne are currently sitting on sixteen wins and are projected to take eighteen. With three games to go and playing very well, that might be more like nineteen by the end of the regular season. Brisbane and Sydney City close out the top three spots, just as they do now. Both sides are going to stay at least four points off the pace.

The remaining spots are interesting. Penrith in the top four? They’re currently only two points off Cronulla, who are not playing well. Three wins for the Panthers and two for the Sharks would not be a surprising outcome. The Collated Ladder also has the Cowboys not far off the pace and there’s not much to separate them – Stocky wins and Pythag are very close for all three. Fourth place is very important as almost all of the premiership winners of the last twenty years have finished in the top four.

Continue reading “NRL Projections Update – Round 23, 2017”

NRL Tips – Round 23, 2017

It may surprise you to discover that this blog is actually fairly low on my list of priorities and when time’s tight, its always going to be the first to suffer so this isn’t going to be much of a post. With that in mind, this week’s games are looking like a re-run of round 20, where each game had a clear favourite. That weekend, seven from eight tips got up.

Round 23 offers more top eight match ups with the Roosters/Storm, Broncos/Sharks and Cowboys/Panthers going head-to-head. While you would expect 1st vs 2nd, 3rd vs 4th and 6th vs 8th to be tight, we’ve got the Storm, Broncos and Panthers well ahead of their rivals. In fact, the Jury was unanimous on every game except for Wests/Manly, where Euclid was the sole dissenting vote.

The favourites have an average odds of 2-to-1 of picking up the win. As I warned in round 20, you would expect to be correct in 5.2 games but still find upsets in 2.8 games. We’ll have to wait and see which games those are.

Draw

canterbury-sm Canterbury (7-13) @ souths-sm South Sydney (7-13)

newcastle-sm Newcastle (4-16) @ parramatta-sm Parramatta (13-7)

cronulla-sm Cronulla (13-7) @ brisbane-sm Brisbane (13-7)

gold coast titans-sm Gold Coast (7-13) @ st george illawarra-sm St George Illawarra (10-10)

sydney city-sm Sydney City (14-6) @ melbourne-sm Melbourne (15-5)

north qld-sm North Queensland (12-8) @ penrith-sm Penrith (11-9)

canberra-sm Canberra (9-11) @ warriors-sm New Zealand (7-13)

manly-sm Manly (12-8) @ wests tigers-sm Wests Tigers (5-15)

Continue reading “NRL Tips – Round 23, 2017”

Analysis – The more competitive the season, the more bums on seats

Most rugby league commentators wouldn’t know what a linear regression is or how do one. I’m no different but I do like to compare two variables and see if they’re correlated. A scatter plot with a linear trendline and an R-squared – remember R-squared goes from 0, no correlation, to 1, perfect correlation; I usually need at least 0.2 to raise an eyebrow – is all I need to keep me entertained for hours on end.

Last week, we looked the concept of competitiveness and how to measure it. This week, I want to see if (more or less) competitiveness impacts on other aspects of the game. Using my preferred ratings gap as a proxy for how competitive a season is, this post looks at a few variables to see if they’re correlated.

If you want a specific variable looked at, give me a yell.

Draws

draws vs gap

Surprisingly, there’s no link between the number of draws and how competitive the season is. There’s basically a correlation of nothing with an R-squared of 0.03 . I think draws are more about the specific teams in question and I think golden point may play a role but the overall season competitiveness doesn’t matter.

As an aside, it appears that the number of draws are increasing over time. I’ve looked into it and basically, that’s not a thing. Yet. 2016 was a particularly bad year and maybe if 2017 continues on trend, then we may be able to establish there’s something happening but we’ll have to wait and see.

Points scored

points vs gap

I had to adjust it for point scored across the season per regular season game but there’s no correlation between competitiveness and points scored. They’re independent of each other.

Attendance

attendance vs gap

Look, I’ve know I’ve gone on about attendance this year, but this is interesting. Promise. The more competitive the season, the more people turn up. This relationship holds even if you remove an outlier year like 1998, which had really poor attendance due to an excess of games and it immediately followed the Super League shemozzle.

It folds in nicely to some work done by Tony Corke for the AFL. We see that people prefer to attend games where there’s a bit of uncertainty. If it’s expected to be a lopsided flogging, people stay home compared to when there’s a chance of it going either way, i.e. when its competitive.

If the NRL wants more bums on seats, all it has to do is tighten up the competition. Introducing a spending cap on performance would go a long way to evening it up.

NRL Projections Update – Round 22, 2017

I’m running a bit short on time this week, so I’ll dispense with the usual round up of matches and dive straight into it.

Actually, I’ll take one moment to say that I watched five of the eight games on the weekend (missed the Saturday fixtures) and the Souths-Saints game was the best of the lot. It might be because my expectations were so low but that was a hell of a finish from the Bunnies.

Round 22 Results

parramatta-sm Parramatta 20 (13-7) d canterbury-sm Canterbury 4 (7-13)

souths-sm South Sydney 26 (7-13) d st george illawarra-sm St George Illawarra 24 (10-10)

melbourne-sm Melbourne 26 (15-5) d north qld-sm North Queensland 8 (12-8)

newcastle-sm Newcastle 26 (4-16) d warriors-sm New Zealand 10 (7-13)

brisbane-sm Brisbane 54 (13-7) d gold coast titans-sm Gold Coast 0 (7-13)

canberra-sm Canberra 30 (9-11) d cronulla-sm Cronulla 12 (13-7)

manly-sm Manly 36 (12-8) d sydney city-sm Sydney City 18 (14-6)

penrith-sm Penrith 28 (11-9) d wests tigers-sm Wests Tigers 14 (5-15)

Continue reading “NRL Projections Update – Round 22, 2017”