Tackle Height & The Influence On Tackle Outcome
INTRODUCTION RESULTS CONCLUSION
Tackle Height vs Tackle Outcome Field Location vs Tackle Outcome
Tackling is the key individual defensive skill in rugby league. Tackling is the key defensive skill in rugby league. It forms
Professional rugby league teams can amass total tackle counts Chi square analysis indicated a significant association between Analysis showed a significant association existed between the the basis of defensive patterns with the ultimate goal of
of up to four hundred per match (2). It is assumed that different Tackle Height and Tackle Outcome; this relationship was only Field Location of a tackle and Tackle Outcome (χ2 (2) = 14.838, forcing the opposition to the ground as quickly as possible
benefits are gained when tackling a ball carrier at different significant for tackles where the initial contact height was High or p = 0.001) so as to enable the defensive team to reset their defensive
heights, such as dislodging the ball or denying the attacker the Low (χ2 (4) =18.923, p = 0.001). Figure 1 displays the changes in line and repel any further attacking raids.
• 66.7% (SR=2.4) of unsuccessful tackles occurred on the right-
opportunity to off-load the ball to a support player. proportion of unsuccessful, successful and very successful tackles
hand side of the field
that occurred with changes in tackle height. The height and direction with which initial contact is made
Research in Rugby Union has shown that if a attacking ball • The majority of tackles in the defending 20m zone were very with the attacking ball player have a significant impact on
carrier approaches a tackle low (3) or from an oblique angle (4) Unsuccessful Successful Very successful successful, 55.5%, while 21.3% of tackles in the defending 20m the success of tackle outcome. When defenders orientated
they are more likely to successfully retain possession of the zone were unsuccessful. their body so as to make contact front-on at either a high or
ball. 4 low body height it increased the likelihood of a successful
3 Playing Position vs Tackle Outcome or very successful outcome.
Rugby league training manuals instruct players that the
dominate method to tackle a ball carrier is to tackle low – that 2 Statistical analysis indicated a significant relationship exists The number of defenders involved in a tackle was shown to
is to target the ball carriers thighs with the tackler’s shoulder ; 1
between Playing Position and Tackle Outcome (χ2 (4) = 39.989, impact heavily on the success of the tackle. If the defender
this method is an efficient way nullify an attackers forward p = <0.001) was left isolated, the attacking players could potentially use
momentum as well as slowing the play of the ball down (1). 0
• 78.3% (SR=2.0) of very successful tackles were made by evasive techniques, such as fending, oblique running
-1 Forwards patterns and forward step evasion patterns to limit the
To date, little research has considered actions the defending High Medium Low effectiveness of a tackle attempt(4).
player can take to influence the tackle outcome. This research -2 • 42.9% (SR= 2.1) of Forwards made frontal tackles compared
project will aim to investigate whether initial contact height, to 25.8% (SR=-3.4) of Backs The right-side defence showed a tendency to produce a
defined as either high, medium or low as shown in Figure 2, significantly greater proportion of unsuccessful tackles than
will influence the tackle outcome. the left-side defence. While not a main focus of this project,
Tackle Height the propensity for unsuccessful tackles on the left side
defence indicates that further research is required to explain
METHODS Figure 1: Tackle Height vs Tackle Outcome
Identifying those attributes that influence tackle outcome
Performance analysis of National Youth Competition (NYC) provides guidance to coaching staff as to how skills and
defensive tackles (n=1005) was conducted on tackles made Player Count vs Tackle Outcome
tactics can be modified to give defending players greater
during the 2009 Toyota Cup rugby league competition. A significant relationship was observed between the number of likelihood of tackle success.
Defenders in a tackle and Tackle Outcome (χ2 (4) = 158.090, p =
A tackle was defined as contact between a defending player <0.001)
and the ball carrier. Primary variables incorporated all basic
information about the tackle and included: • 55.6% (SR=9.2), of unsuccessful tackles were single Defender REFERENCES
1. Rugby League Core Skills. Available at:
• The initial height of contact (low, medium, high) • 65.6% (SR=2.4), of very successful tackles were dual Defender www.rugbyleaguecoaching.com.au
• The tackle outcome (very successful, successful, 2 . NRL Stats Club Season Summary. Available at:
Tackle Direction vs Tackle Outcome
3. McKenzie, A.D., Holmyard, D.J. & Docherty, D., Journal of
• The tackle direction (oblique, frontal, side/rear) Statistical analysis indicated a significant association exists Human Movement Studies, 17: 101-113, 1989
between Tackle Direction and Tackle Outcome (χ2 (4) = 65.789,
• Field location of tackle (left or right side of field, attacking or 4. Sayers, M.G.L. & Washington-King, J., International
p = <0.001)
defending zone) Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport. 5 (3):92-106,
• When tackle direction was frontal, 6.6% (SR=-4.0) of tackle 2005
All data were analysed using SPSS, specifically Chi-Squared outcomes were unsuccessful.
associated analyses. Independent variables were assessed to a b c
• 65.0% (SR=3.0) of frontal tackles resulted in very successful
determine if they influenced tackle outcome. tackle outcomes.
Figure 2: Tackle height (a) low, (b) medium and (c) high
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