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The NRL Match-Up: What is the most common winning margin?

Posted: 27 June 2019 10:01 am
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We find out how close the average NRL game is.

With the NRL back bigger and better than ever, we thought we'd do what we do best at Finder and start comparing everything NRL. Each week we take a look at one aspect of the game, from the spectacular to the silly, to see who comes out on top.

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2019 NRL Round 11 - South Sydney Rabbitohs v Wests Tigers, ANZ Stadium, 2019-05-25. Digital image by Gregg Porteous © NRL Photos

Every NRL season has thrown up its fair share of nailbiters and big wins, but it can be difficult to know how close the average game actually is.

We've taken a look at the last 15 years of results to find the most common winning margins in the NRL.

Most common winning margins

The typical winning margin is closer than you might initially think, with 2-point and 4-point margins the most common in the NRL since 2003.

An 8-point margin is also more common than a 6-point margin, with a 14-point margin the 5th most common overall. As you'd expect, the bigger the margin, the less often it happens, with the biggest ever margin coming back in 2003 when the Eels downed the Sharks 74-4.

Win margins

For the last 15 years, roughly half of all NRL games have ended with a margin of 10 points or less.

In the 2008 season, just over 40% of games ended within a 10-point margin, with the 2018 season the tightest on record, with approximately 53% of games finishing within the same margin.

Over the years, wins between 21 and 30 points have been more common than those of more than 30 points, apart from in 2013, when 30-plus point wins made up almost 14% of all games.

Big wins

Thrashings by season

Surprisingly enough, almost 1 in 10 games end with a margin of more than 30 points. In 2004, this figure was at almost 1 in 7, meaning there was on average 1 big win every weekend (with a 15-team league).

At the other end of the scale, 2011 had the fewest big wins, with less than 6% of games ending with 1 side more than 30 points ahead.


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