The State of Origin data that proves QLD dominance will continue

Chris Stead 14 July 2016

Game III 2016 State of Origin

Comparing Game 3 from this year and last proves that there's a long way for NSW to catch up.

Here’s a humbling statistic. In last night’s game, Queensland missed just as many tackles as New South Wales did in Game 3 of 2015. Yet in that game Queensland scored 34 more points and five more tries. It’s the one stunning statistic that shows why Queensland are champions, and New South Wales are not. The Queenslanders kept turning up for each other last night, and last year New South Wales did not.

What’s worse than that kick in the ribs? Last year was a decider with something on the line; this year all Queensland had to play for was pride in the jersey.

So if you’ve woken up in New South Wales this morning, chances are you’re feeling a little numb. There was no denying the excitement of watching the Blues clinch victory with the final play of the day following a 70 metre excursion down field, but you have to ask why anything “last minute” was even required. A look at the final game statistics show a landslide in New South Wales’ favour, which in club land would have resulted in a score line more like last year. In fact, when you compare the match stats of Game 3 2015, which Queensland won 52-6, with Game 3 2016, the data is compelling.

As you can see in the tables below, when it comes to the key attacking metrics, NSW was nearly as dominant in Game 3 of 2016 as Queensland was in Game 3 of 2015. The possession, linebreaks, offloads, penalties and missed tackles are greatly in NSW's favour and are comparable to the same figures Queensland posted in its 52-6 triumph. Looking just at that data, a NSW winning margin of at least 30 would be expected.

Look at the core statistics, however, and the dreadful truth unveils itself. In its 52-6 triumph, Queensland easily produced more kick metres, less errors, a better completion rate and more line dropouts on its path to a famous victory. Last night, however, NSW – despite winning – could only match Queensland’s completion rate, produced more errors, kicked for significantly less metres and only forced one dropout.

There’s your key difference – the path to a series victory is right there in the data. NSW clearly has a team that can post a big score on Queensland, but in its kicking game, errors and desire in defence, it’s simply unable to convert dominance on the field into points on the board. All Queensland has to do is complete its sets and kick into corners, and New South Wales will hand them victory in 2017, just as it has for most of the last 12 years.

Note: The Dominance Metric shows how much better one team was than the other on raw statistics. So when you compare the dominance of the two victorious Game 3 teams, they are almost the same, tending towards QLD. Also note, percentages relate to contribution of a team to total in that statistic - not distance between team's statistics.

Match stats comparison for State of Origin Game 3, 2015

Game 3 2015 QLDGame 3 2015 NSWQld this much better
Completion rate88%75%54%
Missed tackles132969%
Total runs1829167%
Run metres169780968%
Kick metres71840664%
Line dropouts30100%
Dominance Metric11.97

Match stats comparison for State of Origin Game 3, 2016

Game 3 2016 NSWGame 3 2016 QLDNSW this much better
Completion rate74%74%50%
Missed tackles112973%
Total runs17312857%
Run metres1420105757%
Kick metres34951540%
Line dropouts10100%
Dominance Metric10.11

Comparing the match dominance of QLD and NSW in Game 3 2015 and 2016 respectively

Game 3 2015 QLD DominanceGame 3 2016 NSW DominanceQLD vs NSW difference
Completion rate54%50%4% QLD
Posession65%60%5% QLD
Tackles65%56%9% QLD
Missed tackles69%73%3% NSW
Total runs67%57%9% QLD
Run metres68%57%10% QLD
Linebreaks100%78%22% QLD
Offloads76%86%9% NSW
Kicks63%49%14% QLD
Kick metres64%40%23% QLD
Line dropouts100%100%0%
Penalties71%80%9% NSW
Errors67%43%23% QLD
Tries89%50%39% QLD
Goals91%75%16% QLD
Score90%56%33% QLD
Dominance Metric1.86 QLD

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