Where have 253 tries gone? The alarming NRL trend that keeps getting worse

Discussion in 'Rugby League Talk' started by Super Freak, Mar 20, 2019.

    The Lab and Fox League’s Warren Smith look into the NRL’s worrying try-scoring trend

    March 19, 2019

    Who stole 253 tries from the NRL?

    Somewhere out there in NRL-Land, somebody has made off with a nice stash of meat pies. Four-pointers.

    Call them what you will, but we can’t find them.

    It would be nice to have Ethan Hunt available to help us catch the perpetrator, but we’re not sure of his credentials, or those of Tom Cruise for that matter, when the talk turns to rugby league, so it’s up to you to solve the mystery.

    Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to find the 253 tries that have gone missing since the 2004 season.

    We just checked the back room, and that’s the number we’re down on tries being scored each season from 15 years ago.


    That’s a lot, huh?

    It’s something we looked into on the Take Me Now, I Have Seen It All podcast as well.

    In 2004, the 16 teams combined to score 1,533 tries. Last season the number of four pointers scored was 1,280.

    That’s an almost 17 per cent decrease, and while everybody enjoys seeing a great defensive unit go about their work, over the course of 15 years that’s a worrying number of tries that have vanished.

    The 2004 season, of course, was the beginning of an era that saw coaches across the competition adopt the practises of what would become the most successful defensive team in the competition — the Melbourne Storm.

    Craig Bellamy had been fermenting ideas about the best way to make significant improvements to defensive lines during his time as an assistant to Wayne Bennett at the Broncos. Those ideas were given the environment to flourish in when Bellamy headed south for his first appointment as an NRL head coach, and it’s fair to say they’ve served him and the team well ever since.

    The gains the Storm made defensively helped to turn them into contenders for the title very quickly, and no matter whether it’s footy, finance or fine art, the best idea is a stolen one.

    Everybody copied, everybody became more efficient when they didn’t have the ball, and tries, as a consequence, have been drying up ever since.

    The NRL has been crunching the numbers during this time, concerned but not alarmed, but it’s what happened last season that now has them worried.

    The 2018 total of 1,280 tries was the fourth season in a row in which the number shrank.

    Here are the numbers over that time:

    2014 — 1,403

    2015 — 1,367

    2016 — 1,359

    2017 — 1,342

    2018 — 1,280

    Fans go to games and turn on TV’s to be entertained, and tries, let’s face it, are what they want to see.

    If less tries is less entertainment, then the NRL has reason to be concerned.

    Last season wasn’t an anomaly because the pattern has been well established, but you could make a case that the crackdown on penalties in 2018 contributed to the lower number of tries.

    I guess we’ll know more about that theory by the time we get to the end of the current season, a season in which the referees have been instructed to let the game flow and limit the amount of stoppages which have crept in over a number of years.

    It’s not the first time the shape of the game has been tweaked to try and improve the spectacle. We’ve seen ‘zero tackles’, the interchange numbers reduced from ten to eight, shot clocks introduced for scrums and goal-line dropouts and we’ve seen any number of rules being massaged with interpretations, all in an attempt to keep the ball in play for longer periods in a hope that the disappearing tries would re-emerge and the fans would get full value for their entertainment dollar.

    So far, it hasn’t worked.

    In Round 1 over the weekend there were a number of games effected by wet weather, and it’s only a small sample at any rate, but the fact there were only 45 tries scored across the eight games played isn’t what the NRL wanted to see.

    You don’t have to be great with numbers to realise that 45 tries per round for the rest of the season would see the total number of tries scored drop for a fifth straight year.

    Can the trend be reversed? There’s more than a few people hoping it can be, but with defence across the league getting better by the season, the options of how to open up the game are set to become a hot topic as the season wears on.

    Should there be another reduction to the interchange? Maybe a defender removed from the field for a set of six should he give away a penalty inside his own 10 metre line?

    No matter the idea, anything and everything will be considered if the downward trend of the amount of tries being scored doesn’t head in a different direction in the near future.

    Forget Tom Cruise, maybe it’s Michael J. Fox that we’ve needed the whole time.

    Source: Fox Sports
  1. 267f7c819132e3026d2271343f9e50d2.jpg

    The numbers keep dropping each year, and the only people to blame are the NRL. They are to blame for not having the spine to tell the media to shut the **** up when they were doing nothing but bitching and complaining about the crackdown last season. If they had any backbone at all, they would have stuck to their guns, but instead they caved to media pressure.

    It was going to be short term pain for long term gain, but none of those dinosaurs (the main one being Buzz) have any foresight whatsoever.
  2. Allo

    Allo NRL Captain

    Thinly (if that) veiled shot at Bellamy, and rightfully so. Him bringing in Wrestlemania has ruined the game. I don’t think it can be undone, but once he fucks off I think it’ll balance out.

    The NRLW was so good to watch partly because there was little to no wrestle.

    The other side is that there was a massive gap between players and player types. There were more footballers and less athletes. Nowadays the athletes have closed that gap through speed or physicality (combined with the wrestle) to close the gap or negate the footballers.

    Also bomb-to-winger tries feel less and less prevalent. Take one out of each game or so and there’s your difference almost
    ningnangnong likes this.
  3. Browny

    Browny State of Origin Captain

    Wrestle mania equals slow play the ball defensive line is set.

    Deliberate penalties in the red zone to set the defensive line. NRL only just addressed this issue but it still exists.

    Kicks to the wingers aren’t as prevalent due to the refs rarely penalising the blockers.

    48 different interpretations of the obstruction rule per round.

    7 tackle sets haven’t helped the attacking team as it’s too costly a play for kicks into the in goal.
    Foordy, Black Philip and Nashy like this.
  4. Ahh it could be lots of things, but **** Bellamy, so I'll blame him too. For all the good he's bought the game due to the suceess in Melbourne, he's also on the other hand, along with his club, and I'm certain some of his players, attempted to absolutely destroy the game. The constant rule bending, introducing new dangerous tackles, laying all over everyone and working the refs to the point where it feels like money is exchanging hands.

    He would punch his own mother in the face if it meant he got a trophy out of it. I'm just glad we don't have to hear the halfwit speak very often, because he doesn't come across as a very bright man.
    jd87, Black Philip and broncos4life like this.
  5. So this! It's exactly where my thoughts went. Penalise the hold down and ignore the media. It's also up to us to tell the media what we think and not the other way round. **** Gould and co rabbiting on about penalties. Stick to a crackdown for a season, not just 6 weeks. My exception is SOO, let em loose. Hopefully see a fight or two, yes I'm a dinosaur.
    Locky's Left Boot likes this.
  6. Just bring back punching, and tell the players to sort out the bullshit. Start with Bellamy.
  7. Bit of a giggle at that one.
    Nashy likes this.
  8. Jedhead

    Jedhead NRL Player

    They lost their bottle on the first crackdown. They will need to revisit it at some stage down the track, otherwise the game will suffer irreparable damage. This idea of free-flowing footy is great but I can assure you Bellamy would have seen it as carte blanche for his side to lay all over the opposition (see last Thursday night) and the well needed leg up he needed to compensate for the loss of Cronk and Slater.
    Black Philip and Morkel like this.
  9. Morkel


    In this case I'm going to throw Robinson under the bus too. The tactic of giving away deliberate penalties whenever the Roosters' line was threatened should have been handled for what it was - professional fouls and 10 in the bin.

    The frustrating part in all of this, whether it be wrestling, deliberate penalties, etc, is that the refereeing always caves in to the infringements, and not the other way around. The idea that penalising infringements slows the game down is bullshit, because coaches will instruct their players to behave as soon as it's clear that they will be correctly penalised out of games.
  10. I'd love to get outraged but I can't be fucked anymore.

    It doesn't matter what us fans thinks, what the rules are, or even what the NRL wants. The fuckheads in the Sydney media dictate the NRL from top to bottom.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2019
  11. I don't think there's any real mystery here. 2015 happened to be the year where penalty goal attempts rose dramatically and it's been a growing trend ever since. Not only are teams wasting time on the clock, they're also controlling the flow of the game better which allows them to stick with their defensive systems.

    I also think the introduction of the 7-tackle restart in 2014 took it's toll on coaches and now we're seeing less kicks inside the opposition 20. The game is missing those individuals contests for the ball that can split a game wide open.

    I doubt there will be a dramatic increase, but with the new referee guidelines I suspect we'll see more tries.
  12. I bleed Maroon

    I bleed Maroon State of Origin Rep

    Love this picture. Bellamyball is a cancer.
  13. OXY-351

    OXY-351 NRL Player

    It annoys me how teams get a warning that thye've given away too many penalites and the next time it will be a sin bin. Why the warning? It just allows a team to push the penalties as far as possible. The ref should just decide in his own mind when enough is enough, and start sin binning. I bet teams would be less willing to give away penalties if they weren't sure if the next one was going to result in being down to 12 men or not.
  14. Fernando

    Fernando QCup Player

    i also think that refs giving that final warning is almost a license to infringe, because the whistle goes in the pocket after that.
  15. Tom

    Tom State of Origin Rep

    Has anyone else noticed that alot of the time if a player gets sin-binned then later in the game a "square up" sin binning is given to the other team, often for far less of an infringement?

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