Fitzgibbon heads Super League Index

For all the controversy of the Capello Index, it provides a fascinating insight into the best and worst players at this year’s football World Cup – all from a purely statistical point of view. The index rates players according to their effectiveness during games; awarding points for things like assists, crosses, dribbling and aerial challenges. It also deducts points for ineffective play and errors. A player’s final rating is his average score from all the games he played.

As the system is purely analytical, and not merely one persons subjective opinion, the results often throw up surprises. For instance, only one Dutch player made it into the top ten (Arjen Robben 8th: 64.51), despite them contesting the final. So, if we were able to produce a similar index for Super League, who would be top, and what surprises would we see?

Well, as you may or may not know, the official Super League website has for some time now been publishing statistics for every player in the competition. The data includes obvious categories such as tries, assists and goals, but also covers less obvious aspects of the game like tackle busts, offloads and clean breaks. For the first time, this year the Super League launched an official fantasy game called ‘Super League Dream Team’ (www.sldreamteam.co.uk), utilising these statistics, and awarding points for each achievement*.

As well as tracking the progress of your own 17 man team, you can access the cumulative total for all current Super League players, and with some simple maths, calculate their average score. So here we have our own Super League Index**:

1. Craig Fitzgibbon 75.75
2. James Roby 75.57
3. Kevin Sinfield 70.00
4. Jamie Peacock 68.40
5. Andy Lynch 66.85
6. Dallas Johnson 65.50
7. Jamie Langley 64.79
8. Glenn Morrison 63.78
9. Rangi Chase 61.90
10. Joel Tomkins 60.91
11. Danny Tickle 59.17
12. Michael Monaghan 58.55
13. Paul Wood 58.30
14. Sean O’Loughlin 58.11
15. Clint Newton 57.86
16. Malcolm Alker 57.59
17. Adrian Morley 56.30
18. Olivier Elima 56.24
19. James Graham 56.14
20. Heath L’Estrange 56.09
21. Luke Swain  56.00
22. Ben Westwood 55.95
23. Joe Westerman 55.95
24. Kyle Eastmond 55.63
25. Leon Pryce 55.20
26. Danny McGuire 54.90
27. Sam Obst 54.37
28. Michael Dobson 54.27
29. Jason Chan 54.21
30. Lincoln Withers 53.95

The results, if nothing else, show how much work forwards in our game go through, as they dominate the top positions – in fact, there is only one back in the top 20 (9. Rangi Chase). And notable by his absence is leading points scorer, Pat Richards, who finds himself some way off the pace with a score of 48.41. 

Perhaps also surprising is the amount of players from so-called ‘lesser’ clubs who feature. Prominent among these is Dallas Johnson, who despite being part of the league’s bottom team, has reached a very impressive 6th place on the index. Also, unlike the Capello Index, it is surprising that the top positions are not dominated by players from the current top sides. In fact, Wigan have only 2 representatives; the same as Catalans and Salford and several others, despite occupying the top spot in the league for most of the season. 

Finally, with 12 out of the 14 Super League teams having players in the list, is this proof that the salary cap is now working, as the top players are now spread throughout the league?

*To view the scoring system, visit: www.sldreamteam.co.uk/howtoplay

**Top 30 players only shown here. Only players with a minimum of 12 appearances this season were included. Scores are correct as of 22/07/10.