Analysis of styles of play according to season and end of season rank in the National Rugby League

Wedding, C., Woods, C. T., Sinclair, W. H., Gomez, M. A., and Leicht, A. S. (2021) Analysis of styles of play according to season and end of season rank in the National Rugby League. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 24 (2). pp. 206-210.

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Abstract

Objectives: This study aimed to identify styles of play in the National Rugby League (NRL) relative to season and end of season rank (position on the NRL ladder) across the 2015-2019 seasons.

Design: Retrospective, longitudinal analysis of performance indicators.

Methods: Forty-eight performance indicators (e.g. runs, tackles) from all NRL teams and matches during the 2015-2019 seasons (n = 2010) were quantified. Principal component analysis (PCA) was then used to identify styles of play based on dimensions (Factors) of performance indicators. Multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) was then used to explain these emergent styles of play relative to 'season' and 'end of season rank'.

Results: The PCA revealed nine Factors (six attacking, two defensive and one contested style) accounting for similar to 51% of seasonal team performance variance. These nine Factors differed across 'seasons', with four showing an effect against 'end of season rank'. From these four, two Factors (ball possession and player efforts) impacted upon the combined effects of 'season' and 'end of season rank'.

Conclusions: The PCA identified nine Factors reflecting a spread of attacking, defensive and contested styles of play within the NRL. These styles differed relative to season and a team's end of season ranking. These results may assist practitioners with the recognition of more contemporary styles of play in the NRL, enabling the development of strategies to exploit competition trends. (C) 2020 Sports Medicine Australia. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item ID: 66160
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1878-1861
Keywords: Team sports, Sport analytics, Performance analysis, Playing style
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Copyright Information: © 2020 Sports Medicine Australia. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Additional Information:

Supplementary material related to this article can be found, in the online version, at doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2020.09.006

Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2021 18:35
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420799 Sports science and exercise not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1306 Sport, exercise and recreation > 130602 Organised sports @ 100%
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