Huge SuperCoach NRL rule change coming in 2019
The Last Touch Assist is dead.
The biggest SuperCoach NRL rule change in years will see the controversial scoring metric replaced by the new Try Contribution stat.
Introduced in 2015, the Last Touch Assist (6 points) was created to more accurately award points to players who helped create try-scoring opportunities. The stat gave valuable points to the last person to touch the ball before a try was scored without awarding them a lucrative Try Assist (12 points) if they weren't deserving of one.
But a try, as NRL fans well know, isn't necessarily the work of just two or three people on the field. Sometimes many players contribute to how a try is scored.
Enter the brand new Try Contribution metric.
Worth four points, Try Contributions could be awarded to multiple players involved in a try-scoring play. In rare circumstances a player from the previous play could also pick up a Try Contribution if deemed worthy.
Any given try could include the try scorer (17 points), the player with the Try Assist (12 points) and one or more players who also helped create the try-scoring opportunity picking up the Try Contribution (4 points).
SuperCoach NRL editor Tom Sangster said the rule change would create a fairer game
"We feel this is a lot fairer for SuperCoach and it's also going to stop a bit of conjecture about Try Assists - the subjectivity around those sort of things," Sangster said.
"In some cases you'll get four, maybe even five players with Try Contributions per play.
"The big winners are going to be the halves who create the space whereas in the past centres were getting a lot of Last Touch Assists just by catching the ball and passing."
The rule change is sure to change how SuperCoaches pick their team, with data from the 2018 season showing halves are in line for a boost from the try contribution metric while hookers who had previously racked up big points for simply picking up a ball and passing will lose.
Cody Walker would have been the biggest winner if Try Contributions had been part of the game last year. An additional 70 points would have gone to the Rabbitohs five-eighth.
Dragons hooker Cam McInnes leads the hookers for possible points lost. His owners would have dropped by 42 over the course of the season.
A few points a game up or down might not seem like much but when you consider how close the margin between first and second place overall was in 2018 - just six points in the end - then every point counts.
TRY CONTRIBUTION SCENARIOS
1. A simple example of a play (fullback sweep or similar) in which one or two players earned try contributions.
Rd 17 Storm v Dragons, Kurt Mann try in the 17th minute: In this instance Matt Dufty has the Try Assist and Euan Aitken has a Last Touch Assist. Under the new scoring, Dufty still gets Try Assist, Aitken's Last Touch Assist gets replaced by Try Contribution and Darren Nichols gets a Try Contribution as well for his lead up play to put Dufty on the outside.
2. A play where the Try Contribution may be a play removed from the try itself.
Rd 5 Raiders v Bulldogs, Joey Leilua try in the 10th minute: Jordan Rapana makes a long break, gets pulled down and Leilua scores from dummy half as the Bulldogs defence is still recovering. Rapana would get a Try Contribution under the new system for his work on the last play.
3. A kick play where one or more Try Contributions is/are awarded.
Finals week one, Roosters v Sharks, Latrell Mitchell try in the 52nd minute: Cooper Cronk is given a Try Assist for the cross-field kick and Daniel Tupou would get a Try Contribution for winning the ball - Tupou doesn't get a Try Assist because he never has control of where the ball is going.
4. A play with a Last Touch Assist that will no longer be awarded.
Rd 4 Brisbane v Titans, Kodi Nikorima try in the 65th Minute: Andrew McCullough was awarded a Last Touch Assist but would not be awarded anything under new rules as he doesn't contribute to the try at all. He simply passes the ball and Nikorima creates the opportunity on his own.