The REAL reason Eagles got the Roosters

01/04/2014

The REAL reason Eagles got the Roosters

 Roosters V Manly Round 4

First half REAL STATS are here for your consideration.

They have been done by ME using MY CRITERIA  from what I believe are the best definitions to offer best, quickest, general analysis of what took place.

Roosters                                 Manly

14                          Sets                   26

77                         Plays                103

3                          Errors                5

5                        Lost Plays          11

This is largely the WHAT happened.  The WHO, WHERE and WHEN are just as important but not covered here yet – keep reading for that. The WHY and HOW is for coaches whose job it is to analyse this and apply it to assist in the process of individual and team improvement.

If Channel 9 told you that a team had 14 first half possessions (or sets) to their opponents 26 I am sure most of us would be staggered that the score could be so close – 6-0 at half time.

However this stat can be, as it is this time, a very misleading figure rendered useless in this case by other way more important numbers.

WHY? Because the possessions or sets don’t precisely reflect the “amount of ball” each team has had.

WHAT gives better info is the play count which reads – Roosters 77 Manly 103. That’s what most people refer to as the tackles each team had but tackles are defensive terminology for me and plays are what happen when we have the ball.

Work out whether you would prefer to have 18 sets where you concede possession in 3 cases on the 2nd play, 6 cases on the 3rd play and complete the rest (total 78 plays).

Now try what it looks like with 14 sets all completed on play 6 (total 84 plays).

The REAL possession count therefore can be misleading without the number of plays counted - or reversed, how many lost plays have we had tells us more about the WHEN in the play count those errors have occurred.

Again most people would think that Roosters (3) must have committed heaps of errors and Manly (5) been perfect but that’s not the case as you can see.  When people are talking about errors of this kind I refer to them as errors conceding possession or ECPs. There are thousands of other errors occurring every minute of the game including from the refs!

So if the Roosters have committed only 3 ECP’s and lost a miserly 5 plays only from the total of possible plays from the sets they earned, it is not unusual for a team to be behind by this much (26 plays) in what is the REAL possession count. In fact Manly stats are “worse” with 5 ECPs and 11 lost plays.

By the way these are extremely good figures in this specific area of team performance by both teams.

The lost plays number is best if lower of course and it quickly tells us that both teams were not committing the few errors made early in the play count – the WHEN.

Phil Gould summarised it all “well” at half time by suggesting the Roosters coach would be telling his guys they needed to win the battle of field position as it’s been “all Manly up this end this half” – WHERE the battle took place. His most accurate comment related to the high quality defence both teams had shown.

Gould’s was right as Trent Robinson confirmed via Peter Sterling at half time. In fact, he went further to say his team could come over the top of their opponents in the final 20 minutes if they did just that.

I feel there is a completely different way of looking at footy to this “if we get most of the ball we win”.

I want them to tell us HOW they are going to get that extra possession and the much desired field position. In this case it wasn’t because of ECPs. Coach Robo later told us it was about refs and penalties which is obvious but only part of the REAL reason.

Are these guys telling us that if they don’t get that possession they don’t know HOW to win without more possession than our opponents? “If the ref penalises us and not them we lose”? We know that was not the case last season when Roosters didn’t lose often even when heavily penalised. Some people suggested they knew that and that the penalties were not a strong enough measure to stop them from doing it repeatedly.

WHY is it going to be any different in the second half or next week?

Too much has been omitted from coverage of Rugby League about possession stats and how they relate to the other much used term PRESSURE.

We get wall to wall talk from coaches, players and media people about building PRESSURE through having POSSESSION. It is made to sound as if when the footy gods smile on us our team will get more possession and following along with it will be a win for us all to enjoy.

The most misleading aspect of this thread regarding winning footy matches suggests the team committing the fewest errors will therefore have the most possession so therefore win. I feel we were all led to believe that was the case on Friday night.

The emphasis on winning being linked to those bulk possession and good field position items would also lead to the Roosters winning. “Get us up the other end and we will win it” is the theme we were asked to believe in.

Can I ask you at this point did you feel that the Sea Eagles were running harder, tackling more fiercely and generally displaying signs of wanting to win more than their opponents? I watched it live and have watched it again twice on video without being able to find any real traces of attitude being an issue.

(To compare I have watched Souths versus Raiders again today and that is a whole different ball game! Attitude appears there very often).

So if I am right and both these proud teams were hooking in there are only 3 other broad items that I could suggest led to Manly continuing on to a strong if narrow victory.

They are:

1)      Manly had an incredible amount of good fortune – lucky Manly!

2)      The referee’s had a shocker – oops that’s also been alleged!

3)      Come back tomorrow to smithyspeaks.com.au  for what the numbers really show – the WHY and HOW Manly won it .

I will have the rest of the REAL STATS that matter with specific analysis of the things you weren’t told. You can figure it out with me then.