DataJam - Australian Sporting First

Australia’s finest number crunchers from companies including Facebook, Fairfax, Qantas, IBM and Commonwealth Bank of Australia will come together on Saturday (30 April) for a "Moneyball"-style DataJam of the NSW VB Blues.

In an Australian sporting first, NSWRL has partnered with Precision Sourcing, a technology and data recruitment company, and fast growth Australian tech’ company ansarada who provide virtual data rooms, to analyse data from the past 12 years of State of Origin.

Fifty statisticians across 10 teams, including Facebook’s Head of Marketing Science, Steve Lockwood, Business Intelligence Analyst for Fairfax, John Tanious, and Optus Manager of Channel Insights and Performance, Fiona Gordon, will “jam” data looking for trends, correlations and predictive models to provide a better understanding of State of Origin fixtures.

The teams will spend 12 hours poring over in-game statistics, fatigue levels and performance data in a bid to identify what a successful performance looks like and effectively help implement a predictive model of success during live games.

NSWRL Performance Solutions Manager Brad Pryjmachuk said the “Moneyball” concept is an exciting one.

“The DataJam will help us develop a predictive model to understand what the exact requirements are to winning at State of Origin level,” Pryjmachuk said.

“For example, after 15 minutes a player may need to make a certain amount of tackles or hit-ups for a greater chance of winning.

“It’s a first for any Australian sporting code and I’m eager to see what they come up with.”

NSW VB Blues coach Laurie Daley said: “We analyse game data regularly but it will be interesting to get a different perspective and see if there is anything relevant in it for us.”

Precision Sourcing Team Manager of Data Analytics and a big Blues fan, Joel Stein, believes the DataJam could give the Blues an advantage.

“Through statistics and analytics the Blues can predict what actions to take in a game situation which would give them an extra five per cent edge and hopefully help claim the shield,” Stein said.

ansarada CEO Sam Riley is hopeful the workshop will unlock the formula to winning Origin matches.

“Finding smart insights in data is what we do and we would love to use it to help the Blues knock off Queensland in this year’s series,” Riley said.

This is a truly unique event that will further introduce the Australian sporting world to the power of analytics.

NSWRL Media Release