With kick-off in this year’s State of Origin series just hours away, the Telstra Tracker offers some tantalising clues as to who might walk off Suncorp Stadium victorious tonight. Introduced to State of Origin for the first time in 2017, the Telstra Tracker combines technology and sport to bring fans closer to the game with live player insights.
Coaching, team cohesion and home-ground advantage all play crucial roles in determining winners and losers, but add to that the Telstra Tracker data from this year’s NRL Telstra Premiership – including player-by-player speed, intensity and ground coverage – and things start to look interesting. If you’re a Queensland supporter, you might want to look away now…
When it comes to outright speedsters, Telstra Tracker data from this year shows that the New South Wales trio of Josh Addo-Carr, Latrell Mitchell and James Tedesco lead all others as the fastest on the pitch tonight.
Melbourne Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr, who has scorched the turf at 38.5km/h this season pips Roosters centre Latrell Mitchell (36.6km/h) and third best of the 34 players on show is Mitchell’s teammate James Tedesco (35.7km/h).
Newcastle’s Kalyn Ponga is the fastest player in a maroon jersey, but of the top ten fastest players selected, Queensland only has four.
High Speed Efforts
Sheer speed is clearly valuable, but it counts for nothing unless you can do it over and over again on the pitch. Sprints are defined as the number of runs in a game where the player reaches a speed over 20 kilometres per hour. When it comes to packing in the sprints, NSW’s James Tedesco leads the count so far this season.
Tedesco’s 40 count is 10 clear of the next best player involved in the Holden State of Origin series opener – Josh Addo-Carr’s 30 per game. Moses Mbye (29) leads the way for Queensland, with Michael Morgan (26) next best.
Analysing the distance each forward averages through the course of 80 minutes each week, as well as average intensity (measured as metres per minute during their time on field) shows a significant advantage in work rate from the men in sky blue, while the Maroons hold a slight advantage in the halves, hooker, and backs.
The best of any of the forwards picked by both states is NSW’s Tyson Frizell, who covers 90 metres per minute during his 55 minutes on the field. He is followed by team mate and captain Boyd Cordner, who averages 88 metres per minute during his average 72 minutes per match. Next best is Jake Trbojevic (86), Paul Vaughan (85) and Angus Crichton (84) before you get to Queensland’s best.
In terms of distance covered, the Blues pack again has a significant edge. Crichton (7.5km per game) and Cordner (7.1) are the only forwards on show to cover more than 7km per match. Their edge counterparts Gillett and Kaufusi (both 6.9) are next best. The next four on the list are all Blues, with Trbojevic (6.8), Murray (6.3), Frizell and Klemmer (both 6.1) all covering more ground week to week than any of the Maroons.
Queensland have an edge in intensity in the playmakers and backs. However, with halfbacks asked to do much more running than hookers, the fact the Maroons have selected a club halfback at hooker (Ben Hunt’s average intensity of 86 is much higher than Damien Cook’s 72) and centre (Michael Morgan 79) masks what would otherwise be a slight edge to the Blues. Nathan Cleary’s average intensity of 96 is the best of any player on show.
Which team will emerge victorious as the series kicks off tonight? Will the numbers on the page bear out the predictions? Or are they just numbers at the end of the day? Good luck to both teams!