Crikey Sports introduces Pat Byrne, project manager and sports fan who, in conjunction with Crikey Sports, will be publishing a weekly column where he thinks outside the square in bringing you the game of the week as he sees it … in a box…

Pat Byrne, blogger and “Game-in-a-box” creator writes:

I’ve put the Game Tempo of all three 2011 State of Origin games together in two different views:

The three games with the average of the Tempo shown.  Mainly for the record but you can see how they went for each game.

The best for NSW and the best for QLD with the average of the Tempo shown.  I have included this to show how they actually compared across a number of areas and where they were most influential.

To me they are quite interesting because, although it was clear at times that QLD was the far better side, these Game Tempo diagrams show that they weren’t really that far apart over the complete series.  For example:

  • There was only 4 points difference over the three games.
  • It was 10 tries to QLD and 9 tries to NSW.
  • Only around 7% difference in possession over the three games.
  • Only 15-20 odd tackles difference as well.
  • An overall domination of 4.21% for the whole game over the three games.

My direct observations are:

  • QLD did most of their damage in the first half.  In terms of tries, QLD had 6 tries to NSW 3 tries.
  • NSW did most of their damage in the second half with 6 tries to QLD’s 4.
  • QLD dominated the first halves by just over 8%.  You could call the second half even, although it went QLD’s way very slightly.
  • When you look at average Game Tempo line, it shows QLD dominated over the whole first half.  This is very important because NSW needs to play catch up in the second half.
  • That average Game Tempo line for the second half also shows NSW sharing the domination with QLD and finishing over the top for the last 5 to 10 minutes.  Perhaps due to their lighter forwards finishing over the top, but also perhaps to NSW throwing caution to wind to catch up.
  • When you look at QLD’s Best line, when they dominated …. they REALLY dominated and generally converted that to points.
  • When you look at NSW’s Best line, their dominance was nowhere near as deep as the QLD one was and they were slightly less effective at converting that pressure to points.

My overall comment is that QLD are more “productive” at turning dominance to tries than NSW, although there is an argument that might say they should have scored more points given their dominance.  But that is mainly applicable to the first half ….and they did.  6 tries to 3 says that.

So to my mind, the difference is the “productivity” of QLD’s attack and dominance.  They were more productive at producing points when they had the opportunity.  But I would caveat that by saying that NSW’s defence prevented them from being “over productive” with that dominance.

When looking at the actual play though, QLD are a crisper and more mature “team”.  Their attack was clean and their moves crisp compared to NSW.  When the opportunities came, they cracked NSW.

Next year?  Well, NSW has a way to go to breed or instil that maturity and crispness.  That comes from training and playing together over time.  Something QLD already has and seems to be able to continue over time.  BUT …..NSW has the makings of that maturity so I expect them to get better and given the stats and the domination scores above, so long as they stay with QLD in the first half, they should be able to finish over the top in the second half.  Also, given Lockyer has retired, QLD has lost something even if just a little.

It can’t get much closer statistically but I expect them to get closer in Tempo and dominance next year which should make it another great series in 2012!