This blog will invoke the bikini principle of statistics: interesting to look at, but concealing the most crucial bits and pieces. Along with two caveats.
Firstly, and most importantly, the majority of fans are ecstatic with the new rules as it helps the game flow better. The game is a better spectacle for fans and perception is king. Certainly, if refs call six again, without stoppages and are more lax policing the ten under one-ref, it promotes better flow. More Origin-like. That's a good thing. Meanwhile, wrestling, the grind, the Storm-factor, 'seems' to have reduced, whilst the fatigue factor is on the increase. Secondly, it's still early days to make any definite conclusions.
There's an old saying: you can't always have everything. My late grandfather, a former prisoner or war, used to say: you can't carry two watermelons. And roses come with thorns, in reality.
In last night's pressor, Des Hasler, talked about the thorns, noting: points margins per game was increasing and expressed concern that many games might lose their competitiveness, suffering from blowouts. It's interesting as he captured some of my suspicions prior to round three commencing with the ruck now on steroids. Ironically, the Eels v Manly match was far from a blowout, despite threatening too at one point. It was highly competitive and a great game spectacle, despite its controversy.
The stats support Des' assertions, at this point.
- The number of closer games is reducing (by half, at this early point to 25% down from over 50%)
- Games are being won by wider margins (a 21.7 average, a 60% increase from 2019's 13.5 point margin). If you're a betting man, that may interest you.
- Despite the huge increase in run metres numbers and a more frantic pace over the last two rounds, the total points being scored per game hasn't really increased (decreasing from 2019, so far), at least not yet. There's just been a redistribution of those points to the more dominant team.
The consequences are there are substantially increased benefits for the team which gains ascendancy in the ruck and gains momentum. Conversely, where the momentum does turn as last night's game, due to a never-say-die attitude, it becomes a great spectacle of combat under greater fatigue. Though I loved the game before, and still love it as much now, it is changing and quite dramatically with an abundance of roses, but possibly not without a few extra thorns. Maybe this is what needed to happen to get rid of the grind and the wrestle; to appease fans? Or maybe it's an abberation and teams are just not used to the new rules and the programme will return to the normal channel ? Any thoughts are welcome.