NRL release stats that blow player fatigue argument out of the water

The NRL has released new data that emphatically disproves the theory that the new rules implemented over the past two years has led to players never being more fatigued.

The information is in contrast to the assertions coming from players, coaches and former players that the speed of the game is impacting on onfield performance and leading to more errors.

The NRL said in a statement that “the below data of key football and fatigue related indicators in the game and corrects some misconceptions about the changes in the game over the last two years.”

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“One of the most important roles of our football department is to collate data on every aspect of our game. We make significant investments in this area because it’s important we understand exactly what is happening on the field,” the statement read.

“It enables us to improve player welfare and assists in enhancing the fan experience.

That data highlights the following matters:

– While there’s a perception the players have never been more fatigued, the data simply does not support that assertion.

– Players who are fatigued are more likely to make errors – yet the error rate over the last three years has remained flat. The error rate today is almost the same as the error rate before the new rule changes.

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– Players are running about 500m less per game this season than last season and consistent with the number of metres run in 2019.

– There’s now 7.7 tries per game compared to just over 6.6 in 2019. That means the players are getting more stoppages for tries this year than previous years. The increase in tries coincides with players running faster from tackle breaks and in open play. The average distance covered at more than 20km per hour has risen from 255m per game in 2019 to 299m per game in 2021. Player speeds at more than 25km have risen moderately from 47m to 53m over the same period.

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– Fatigue does not appear to be impacting on field performances or decision making. Players aren’t making more errors, they are not running more metres and they are getting more breaks because there are more tries.

“We will continue to meticulously monitor the data and if there is a negative trend we will address it. Player welfare is our absolute priority and if there were any signs that fatigue was having a negative impact, we would act immediately,” the statement concluded.

Originally published asNRL release stats that blow player fatigue argument out of the water

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