Don’t Shoot The Messenger
Now because I’m such a loser I started to look at the current season trends and compare them to the stats of other seasons. I noticed something when I stumbled across the Dally M records. For those of you who don’t know the Dally M is the award given at the end of the year which tells us who was the best in the NRL for that season. Points are dished out at the end of each game by a panel and whoever has the most points at the season end gets the award. Previous winners include Andrew Johns, Jarrod Hayne, Cameron Smith and more recently Todd Carney. Points are not given for State of Origin Matches, Test Matches, City Country Matches, All Star Games or Finals football. Just for games played between Round 1 to 26.
Currently sitting on the top of the table is Jonathon Thurston. One startling fact I spotted was if JT keeps playing this way, doesn’t get injured and sees his side into the finals he will be given the Dally M. This would be the 3rd time he would have seen the medal and be the 2nd man in Dally M history to be given the award 3 times. Sounds pretty good doesn’t really? Here comes the bad news. If history has taught us anything then what Thurston is doing is setting his team up to lose in the finals or even worse in the grand final. Why? I’m glad you asked. Check this out.
Since 1968 the only players to have won the Dally M and the Grand Final are Denis Pittard, Terry Lamb, Allan Langer, Craig Gower and Matt Orford. For all you Maths nerds out there that means on average if JT wins he has a 12% chance of winning the premiership.
The plot thickens when you think that of those 5 players, 3 had to win the Minor Premiership on top of that (Lamb, Langer and Gower). That thins JT’s numbers down to a 7% chance of him winning the Grand Final. This tells me that JT is doomed to watch another Grand Final on his best mate’s flat screen with the Dally M around his neck. Sad.
Doesn’t it seem that the Dally M system is statistically flawed? Think about these few things:
-If a player is selected for the any representative football, be it Test Matches, Origin or City v Country then they won’t actually earn points for the club game that week. Depending on the outcome they may not earn points for the week after.
We will use this example to prove my point. I believe that the player who did the most for his team and had the biggest impact on the game last year was Darius Boyd. His club won the competition and he earned himself the Clive Churchill medal in the finals. Yet Todd Carney won the Dally M. I know that without Carney the Roosters don’t make the finals but he became another statistical nightmare when he won the award and lost in the finals. Have a look at this:
Top 10 Dally M Tallys for 2010
- Todd Carney Roosters 27
- Robbie Farah Tigers 26
- Darius Boyd Dragons 25
- Benji Marshall Tigers 21
- Paul Gallen Sharks 19
- Issac Luke Rabbitohs 18
- Cooper Cronk Storm 18
- Jamie Lyon Sea Eagles 17
- Sam Thaiday Broncos 17
- Billy Slater Storm 17
Now how many of those players played State of Origin (SOO) last year? Slater, Thaiday, Boyd and Cronk played 3 SOO games and Lyon and Gallen 1 SOO game.
How many played for Australia or New Zealand? Benji and Issac played for New Zealand. Slater, Thaiday, Boyd and Gallen all played for Australia.
Lastly Robbie Farah played in the City Country Matches.
Who is left over? Our Dally M winner Todd Carney. So potentially those players are missing out on the award because they were selected to play a high grade of football.
To put this into perspective, let’s say Boyd doesn’t play 3 Origin games and a Test Match. Instead he plays for St George in their club games. He potentially could earn 12 points but he only needs 3 points to over take Todd Carney for the award.
Why does this system reward people who don’t play representative football? Essentially you are robbing Peter to pay Paul (in our case robbing Darius to pay Todd). What about Billy Slater? If he had 4 top notch club games and got 3 points in each then he wins. (Side note – it’s funny that Melbourne had nothing to play for last year and yet they have two players in the top 10). Think about Robbie Farrah, he only missed 2 games last year and one because he was playing City v Country. He only needed 2 points to take the award. What about Cooper Cronk? He could have easily torn up the town with Slater, Smith and GI on their SOO holidays. It could have been his time to dominate. This system is failing so I’ve come up with a better idea.
Charltons’ New and Improved Dally M System
Currently they have a system where the Dally M is voted by the panel and the Proven Summons is voted by the ‘people’. Why not make a mix of both? What about giving the fans and the coaches a say? Why not give the referees one whilst you’re at it? What happened to the good old days where the referee handed out his ‘best n fairest’ award to the player? Let’s see if we can improve the selection a little bit:
- Panel Points – The Dally M panel still gives out points based on the current round
- Referee Points – Referee’s will decide which player was best in that round (this can happen for Test Matches, Origin or City v Country)
- Coaches Points – Coaches will also give 1 point to a player from either team during that current round (this can happen for Test Matches, Origin or City v Country)
- Fans Votes – Fans then vote who they thought was the best player during that season
The scores are then weighted. Say 40-25-25-10 so that the voting is even. Let me show you an example:
Players Name Panel Points Coach Points Referee Points Fans Votes
- Benji Marshall 20 10 5 1250
- Johnathon Thurston 25 12 1 568
Who would win? JT would because his panel and coach points hold a bigger weighting than the Fans Votes.
Not only have you decided who everybody thought was the best player but you are also putting in place 2 new awards “Coaching Players Award” and ‘Referees Choice Award”. How good is that? Plus with those numbers you can sort out who the Proven Summons award goes to.
(Side note – players not winning the Referees Choice award would include JT, Braith Anasta, Matt Orford, Michael Croker and Anthony Watmough).
As far as the fans voting goes you can make it so ‘only club members can vote for players’ hopefully driving up member numbers. Plus the club with the most members can push for votes, i.e 2010 would have seen St George implement ‘Vote For Darius’ advertisements. Can you imagine the numbers he would have had gotten last year with my system? I worked it out based on a few sneaky stats: (I’m just spit balling here also)
Players Name Panel Points Coach Points Referee Points Fans Votes
- Darius Boyd 26 13 17 3750
Coach Points – Coaches know how instrumental Darius is to St George winning. So I took a percentage of their wins and gave him 1 point from each coach.
Referee Points – When you have you ever seen Darius be aggressive towards anyone let alone the referee? Ref’s love this kid!
Fans Votes – That number is based on 25% of Dragons fans voting for him.
Get the idea how my system would work? It’s a system where everybody has accountability – management, coaching staff, referees and fans. That way there can be no surprises at the end of the season.
Do you think this system would work?
If you don’t then let me know where the holes are and I’ll try to improve on it. On the whole we are just trying to be innovative ‘on the try line’.