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.


They show:

  1. The number of closer games is reducing (by half, at this early point to 25% down from over 50%)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.



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  • Fair points HoE - early days but there's plenty to like.

    For mine the refs are not controlling the outcome of games, big plus. How much have we talked about the who the ref was before an Eels game - not any more. The rule changes suit the Eels, who are a fast starting team so get the benefit of early momentum, big plus. The wrestle, the monster forward and Storm-factor are all diminished and the speedy fleet footed players are thriving again suiting the Eels (Jenning, DB, Moses, Jr, Marata, Stone), big tick.

    So yes team tactics will adjust but I think the changes will deliver long term benefits.

  • i think madge was more on the money about this early today , he believes the blowouts more to do with players at certain clubs not keeping up with training during isolation .

    if you think about it , it's probably right , we have matto who lost during iso and then you have Mitchell at Souths who was still not fit at start of season was same weight when came out of iso. 

    Also I'd like to add there hasn't been a huge amount of 6 agains , what it has caused is the teams are doing less Ruck infringements now and game is flowing . so I really hate when anyone says negative about it , you should all be saying the blowouts are occurring because the coaches have been reliant upon purposely cheating and giving away penalties and shows how shit the players and coaches have been and talented players have been disadvantaged all this time 

  • I think your thought perceptions are fair enough Hoe, maybe we are going to see the better teams stand out to confirm those wider margins. Why because a spoiling side, lets use the dogs for example will have to play more football.....the other thing which is still pretty abstract is the ref is seemingly having less effect on a game outcome....early days I know....but I just get this feeling that best teams are going to win.....exceptions such as Knights and Newcastle may go against that but Knights team was vastly different circumstantially to the previous weeks side and Raiders as I said in another blog were pretty flat.

    e.g. I am very comfortable about us beating Penrith next week....having watched their two games, I cant see them getting close, notwithstanding Cleary's return!

  • There have been fewer close games, but I think we'll find that is a temporary anomaly, and even if it's not, is that really a problem ?

    And we haven't had very many blowouts anyway.

    Last week there were 3 games that had sizable margins, we beat the Broncos 34-6, the Cowboys beat the Titans 36-6 & Manly beat the Dogs 32-6. None of those really constitute a blow out IMO, resounding wins yes, but blowouts ? Hardly.

    This week the Chooks obviously blew out the Broncos 59-0, that's a blowout, but other than that the Panthers beat the Warriors 28-0 & Newcastle beat Canberra 32-18, again not really blowouts.

    So in 15 games since the restart we've had one blowout, by the two time defending champions against the youngest team in the league.



  • I dont see the blowouts as an issue, the rule changes are only separating the robots from the footballers. The other point is over coaching and a group of young players across the game that are not used to playing under extreme fatigue, in the past forwards like Glen Lazarus would play 80 minutes and it takes experience to get manage your game playing long minutes, begin effective and knowing you're becoming a liability - this why Seibold is struggling, managing a group of young players not used to fatigue while having lost a lot experience. Some teams are positioned really that have the right mix of youth and experience. 

    • Yeah, agreed with that. The Broncos lack of experience is really killing them, Payne Haas being the exception. He is going to be one special player, he already is.

      • Agree, Haas is a throwback not many young players have that type of motor. 

        • Haas wat a man! huuuge pecs n engine bigger than a horse . id kiss n message his feet everyday maybe more . if hes one of our boys . probs illegal hihihihi 

  • I love the changes and think it's too early to make any definitive calls on how it all pans out - it's fascinating to watch though.

    I reckon Kenny Power's pretty much on the money - also, the sample is way too small and not enough of a median yet. some teams have been woeful and in a smaller sample that exacerbates things. There's some good, theres some not so good, but as my mum says; "It'll all work out in the wash"

    Or as the great Bret Michaels says;

    "Every rose has it's thorn. Just like every night has it's dawn. Just like every cowboy sings his sad sad song. Every rose has it's thorn" 

    Then again, he also said "unskinny bop just blows me away" - so what the f*ck would he know :)

  • IF this style of play isn't benefiting the Storm wrestle, it's only a matter of time until that is changed...

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