Play the Ball Speed - We are being robbed

I like how the NRL site now shows the average play the ball speed for each team.

I think it gives a good indication as to how games are reffed and how some teams get given a lot more leeway in the wrestle and are allowed to reset their defensive line..

Have  a look at last nights game. Watching the game it felt like the Roosters were allowed to slow down the play the ball almost every tackle and yes the Storm aren't bad at it either but look at the average play the ball speed for both teams.

Storm ave play the ball speed 3.96s

Roosters 3.5s

Shows on average the Roosters were allowed to play the ball half a second quicker every tackle all game. That is a huge advantage especially considering teh Storm forwards were rolling through the middle a lot more effectively which you think would give them the right to play the ball quicker.


When you go back through every game the Roosters have played since Covid they win the speed of teh play the ball every time showing they get a clear advantage in allowing their defence to re set.


How do we fair? Well whilst the Roosters have managed to win teh play teh ball speed in every game they have played we are the exact opposite indicating teams are allowed to hold us down longer on average.


last week v Sharks we averaged 4.07s compared to their 3.3 that is a huge difference. Looking at previous games working backwards:

v Dogs - Us 3.67. them 3.41

Tigers - Us 3.71 them 3.28

Manly - Us 3.61 v 3.57

Knights - Us 3.6 v 2.88

Cowboys - Us 3.49 v 3.2

Raiders - Us 3.61 v 3.19

Roosters - Us 3.6 v 3.39

Panthers - Us 3.71 v 3.44

Manly - Us 3.61 v 3.41

Broncos - Us 4.04 v 3.41

Pre Covid

Titans - Us 4 v 3.46

Dogs - Us 3.54 v 3.47


Some fo these games were big wins for us with numerous forwards running for well over 100 metres, we are also one of the leading teams for offloads which would indicate you could a lot of second phase play however not once this season has ouur average play teh ball speed been quicker than our opposition.Only once all season has our average play teh ball speed been below 3.5s and that was 3.49s!

We are being reffed I would argue at a huge disadvantage.








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  • Very interesting. How do we fair with the penalty count or the tackle restarts?

  • And yet the Storm rolled through the Roosters all night. 

  • One thing I've noticed a lot with our team is players getting up and looking to the ref for a penalty while waving arms and doing whatever else they think might get his attention. I reckon Sivo is the worst culprit for this. I find myself often yelling at the TV "JUST PLAY THE BALL!".

    I haven't noticed if other teams do this as I don't pay as much attention to them, but no doubt this is affecting the speed at which we play the ball.

    • Sivo are Vainavulu are always going for the milk and Sivo used to do it a lot too.

    • My thoughts exactly.Sivo just get and play the ball FFS

  • Nathan Brown has the slowest play the ball of all time. Watch him closely. He gets up like he's a 90 year old ploppa who's lost his last dollar on Sportsbet ffs


    Meeik is spot on. Sivo looks around for 5 minutes waiting for a penalty.  Ffs BA has to get this shit sorted because its costing us.  Bellamy would put a massive rocket up both Brown and especially Sivo.


    Jusy Play the ball fast ffs. Ba can't see this bs its bs.

    • When has it actually cost us ?

      • Has it cost us? Well results so far this season would suggest no. But do you think we would be going better if we were playing the ball quicker?

  • Mannah-Brow. Excellent blog, mate. Oddly enough, quite often teams with slower overall play the balls win. Gould made that same point in one of his podcasts a few weeks ago. I have to double check this, but it's rare we ever have a faster play the ball than the opposition, this year (or last year, from memory), so, I kind of gave up on this stat. I'd love to look more deeply into it and understand the logic of it.

  • PTB speed is in my opinion overrated, at least in terms of average speed. I reckon if you did a statistical analysis you'd find that there is a strong inverse correlation between post contact metres & PTB speed. The more post contact metres you make, the slower your average PTB speed tends to be.

    However post contact metres leads to is offloads, which we lead the league in, daylight is 2nd, 3rd & 4th. We've had 192 offloads this season, the Roosters are 2nd with 141. We are 2nd in post contact metres (8,680) behind only the Roosters with 9,004. Offloads leads to more overall metreage and the defence having to make effort on effort a lot more. We are actually 1st in average contact metres per game with 667.7 mpg on an average of 199 runs per game. 

    So the question is what's more valuable, an extra half a second in PTB speed or asking the defence to make ?

    Just for context I have done some analysis correlating Post Contact Metres (PCM) per Carry, Offloads per PCM & Points per Game. It makes for some interesting comparison, as well as illustrate our clear strength ...

                         PCM per Carry        Offloads per PCM       Points per game

    Broncos           3.38                              2.89                           13.7

    Eels                 3.35                              4.42                            22.0

    Cowboys         3.34                              2.54                            18.4

    Roosters         3.27                              3.08                            25.3

    Knights            3.25                              2.76                            21.5

    Storm              3.20                              3.03                            26.7

    Panthers          3.16                             2.75                            25.5

    Warriors           3.16                             3.07                            14.5

    Rabbitohs        3.07                             2.44                            21.4

    Sea Eagles      3.04                            3.03                             16.4

    Dragons           3.02                            2.65                             19.1

    Tigers               2.98                            3.12                             21.9

    Raiders            2.94                             2.55                            17.9

    Titans               2.81                             3.13                            14.2

    Bulldogs           2.69                             3.12                            12.3

    Sharks              2.53                            3.36                             25.5

    As with any statistical anaysis, there are always outliers that just don't make sense. In this case the two obvious outliers are the Broncos leading the league in PCM yet are only able to get away less than 3 offloads per PCM, (despite having a noted offloader in TPJ) and the 15th ranked 13.7 ppg.

    The second anamoly is even more strange, the Sharks with the fewest PCM @ 2.53 PCM pg, yet somehow manage to have the 3rd ranked attack with 25.5 ppg.

    Leaving these aside, the clear trend is that PCM leads to more offloads which generally speaking leads to more points.




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