Nav: Home

Scientists may have cracked rugby league's code

June 21, 2017

JCU's Dr Carl Woods and colleagues looked at the performance indicators of winning and losing NRL teams. He says a number of factors stood out.

"Winning NRL teams run further during the game, they have more try assists, offloads and dummy half runs. They also hold on to the ball more and kick further."

But he said the study's unique finding was the relationship between a high number of missed tackles and a lowly position on the ladder.

"This suggests that higher ranked NRL teams have more comprehensive defensive strategies and less missed tackles when compared to their lower ranked counterparts. We would expect to see players in more successful teams tackle in pairs or groups - otherwise known as gang tackling."

Dr Woods says gang tackling is not exactly a secret weapon, but what was less well known was what happened immediately after.

"With the defending side committing more than one person in a tackle, it can open up holes along the defensive line. Defending players need to spread at speed following the tackle to fill those holes. Higher ranked teams may be better at this given their lower number of missed tackles noted in this study."

He said the finding dove-tailed neatly with another fact the scientists had uncovered.

"Our results showed that higher ranked teams accrued a greater count of dummy half runs. This is an attacking strategy commonly employed against an unstructured defence.

"So, higher ranked teams may not only spread at speed following a gang tackle but they appear more equipped at identifying and exacerbating holes in an opponent's defensive line when they try to employ the same defensive tactic."

Dr Woods says the study broke new ground and needed to be repeated for sports scientists to be sure of its findings. He said it also didn't look at locational or environmental factors that other studies have shown to have an impact on a team's performance.

He says the analytical techniques could also be applied to other sports to examine the relationships between performance indicators and match results.
-end-


James Cook University

Related Sports Articles:

Jumping to your death? Motivations of extreme sports
Researchers have debunked the myth that extreme sportsmen and women are adrenalin junkies with a death wish, according to a new study.
Nearly all shoulder replacement patients under age 55 return to sports
A new study being presented today at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), found that 96.4 percent of recreational athletes, age 55 and younger, who underwent total shoulder replacement surgery returned to at least one sport, on average, within seven months of surgery.
New study looks at LGBT allies in college sports
The sports world has not always been considered inviting for those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
Predicting future sports rankings from evolving performance
Competitive sports and games are all about the performance of players and teams, which results in performance-based hierarchies.
Sports that will save your life revealed: New research
An international research collaboration, led by University of Sydney, has found that cycling, swimming, aerobics and racquet sports offer life saving benefits compared to running and football.
High number of sports-related eye injuries in US
From 2010 to 2013, approximately 30,000 individuals a year reported to emergency departments in the United States with sports-related eye injuries, according to a study published online by JAMA Ophthalmology.
What sports matches reveal about gender roles
In the modern era, it's clear that women can do just about anything that men can do.
Children consuming sports drinks unnecessarily
A high proportion of 12- to 14-year-olds are regularly consuming sports drinks socially, increasing their risk of obesity and tooth erosion, concludes a Cardiff University School of Dentistry survey.
A sex difference in sports interest: What does evolution say?
Sports are enormously popular, and one striking pattern is that boys and men are typically much more involved than are girls and women.
Augmented games can increase the diversity of sports
An augmented climbing wall increases social interaction, helps to attract wider target audiences and empowers users to become content creators.

Related Sports Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#530 Why Aren't We Dead Yet?
We only notice our immune systems when they aren't working properly, or when they're under attack. How does our immune system understand what bits of us are us, and what bits are invading germs and viruses? How different are human immune systems from the immune systems of other creatures? And is the immune system so often the target of sketchy medical advice? Those questions and more, this week in our conversation with author Idan Ben-Barak about his book "Why Aren't We Dead Yet?: The Survivor’s Guide to the Immune System".