2018 NRL Datajam
On the 20th of November 2018 some of the brightest minds in data, across APAC, gathered for the third Precision Sourcing Datajam. This was our second year working with the NRL following on from a successful first event with NSW Rugby League. We were able to go bigger, better and slicker with an amazing venue offered up by Google Cloud and exceptional support from within the NRL.
Google Cloud was kind enough to offer us their newest function room in their ever-expanding Pyrmont campus. If you haven’t had a chance to go there it is definitely worth leaning on your network to make a visit, even just to see the giant pong wall.
This year the NRL threw their full weight behind the event based on the success of the 2017 Datajam. This support was shown in the form of absolute legends Mal Meninga, current national coach and Rugby League Immortal; Karyn Murphy, former Jillaroos captain and Darren Lockyer, one of the game’s greatest ever players and obvious future immortal making up the judging panel. Further to this the NRL digital and statistics divisions were there in force alongside representation from each NRL club there on the day.
Before we get to the actual events of the day a huge thank you must always be given to James Chiswell, Stat Program Manager at the NRL. James is the spearhead behind getting the support of the NRL, from CEO down, alongside preparing the data, working with the teams and much more. This year we were able to utilise NRL partners STATS to further aid the teams in their analysis.
The teams this year came from some of Australia’s leading data companies;
We were excited to welcome back familiar faces from the likes of last year’s winners Accenture (captained again by Danny Peppou), facebook, KPMG, SAS, CBA and eventual winners Quantium. The professional teams were joined by two teams of students who performed extremely well on the day so a huge shout out to the UNSW and UTS teams who took the opportunity to present in front of what could well be their future employer! The UTS team in particular, made up of only international students who had never watched an NRL game, were really up against it considering the competition. To round out the line up Google Cloud and PWC teams came along and added to the high level of competition.
This year the data was different and not only were we able to present the teams with the in-game data, as we did last year, but they were also able to mine through GPS data for the first ever time. This is a development in the game that is revolutionising how coaches and players train and play.
After a full day of heavy hacking the teams were given 8 minutes each to present to the aforementioned panel. Whilst every team performed admirably there could only be 3 on the podium.
In third place, facebook who looked at things, once again, from a different angle to all the other teams.
In second place, KPMG who probably had everyone’s favourite presentation of the day with JP Stambouli showing his absolute obsession with the game. Pretty sure he nearly melted when presenting to his heroes!
In first place Quantium! The team that was pipped to second place last year came back for revenge and was voted unanimously as the winners. Quantium looked at momentum within a game and created an algorithm that tracks this and can be used by coaches and commentators to better understand ebbs and flows in a game. Most excitingly this could be used to better engage fans with statistics during games, a point made by Darren Lockyer after the presentation. A great effort by the Quantium team!
So after another successful event we are not only looking forward to another NRL Datajam next year but we have others events with other sports in the pipeline so definitely watch this space. At Precision Sourcing we love putting on events like this that help us connect with our network more and also help put back in to the data community. If you have an idea for an event that we may be able to collaborate don’t hesitate to get in touch, otherwise watch out for some amazing events to come in 2019!