Highlights: The 2019 ANZ Premiership Preseason

The countdown begins.

The annual ANZ Preseason tournament, hosted for the third consecutive time by Te Wānanga o Raukawa in Ōtaki, served many purposes. We got some sneak peeks into the conditioning, form and strategies of the Franchises, we saw players eyeing each other up and we reckon some demons were laid to rest.   

Being a World Cup year though, all eyes are on the players.

So in this report we seek to answer: Which team has the early advantage? Which players performed? And who should we keep our eye on for the future?

Show me

Team Measures

The Big Picture

We wanted to look at a number of measures and broadly compare them, team to team. 
 These measures were: 
• Offensive and Defensive Efficiency
• Possession Conversions
• Opposition Possession Conversions
• Shooting Accuracy
• Opposition Shooting Accuracy
• Rebounds 
• Feeding
Given this task, we decided to depict the measures with a radial plot.
The bigger the splat, the better.

» It’s looking good for the Pulse, Steel and Tactix. 


The Magic and Stars are just a teeny bit behind the top three, but they are definite contenders. 

Whilst the Mystics have a few work-ons. 

Closer Up

Efficiency Rates

  • Pulse were the best team by far, offensively and defensively
  • Magic were strong defensively, but could improve on offense.
  • Mystics were the worst, in both categories
  • Tactix and Steel both good on attack, but average on defence
  • Stars, surprising low on defensive efficiency (given their ball winning capacity)
  • On attack, most teams were pretty similar in Gain conversion, except the Mystics who sat a bit lower than everyone else, while the Pulse were well above all others in CP conversion – over 80% to circle and over 70% to score, the only team over those thresholds
  • Magic were the only team to have a lower CP to Score compared to Gain to Score.  An odd pattern – Gains tend to be harder to score from due to unstructured start to play
  • On defence, Pulse were the most consistent whether on CP or Gain defence, while Stars and Mystics were both weak on Gain (through court) defence with opposition teams scoring nearly 70% of gains against both of them.

Gains & Losses

  • Pulse had the best net value, which is to say they gained far more ball than they lost
  • Having said that, the Magic were the team who, on average, gained more turnovers per quarter
  • Sadly the Magic were also the highest offenders of handling errors, so they spoiled the scoring potential their defensive efforts granted them
  •  Stars were able to gain more intercepts/tips than any other team – but not very effective in gaining rebounds or forcing opposition errors
  • Consistent with past years, the Steel had a lower number of gains, especially through intercepts/tips. They tend to rely heavily on accuracy on attack
  • Typically the Mystics rely on a high number of gains to offset the speed and flair (and resulting inaccuracy at times) on attack. This didn’t happen this weekend
  •  Pulse had the lowest loss rate by far – the result of a significant reduction in passing errors

Circle Measures

  • Most teams clustered between 80-85%, except the Mystics, who averaged 75% 
  • The Mystics were the only team to have the opposition average sit much higher than their own accuracy
  • Rebounding was a mixed bag for Pulse – the strongest rebounders at the defensive end, but the weakest in the shooting circle
  • Steel were the strongest overall rebounders – they had the best results in the shooting circle and the 2nd best in the defensive circle.
  • Stars and Mystics have some work to do on their defensive rebounding to be on a par with the other teams
  • Feeding-wise, the Magic and Mystics had the lower accuracy but the highest efficiency, which means their feeders weren’t having to do as much work to get the ball in and out of the circle to shot position
  • Other teams were reasonably similar in terms of feeding accuracy – but ranged in efficiency
  • Not surprisingly, the Steel were the least efficient as they required multiple feeds before the shooter was happy to go to post
  • Note: Bubble sizes on the Feeding chart depicts the number of successful feeds per quarter – although we don’t think this adds any extra information in this instance

Pace Factors

“A quick note: This is a fresh measure. 

We were fascinated with the notion of speed and pace (of the ball and of the game) and how this might affect a game strategy and/or outcome. 

We believe by triangulating the rate of scoring, the amount of handles and the true time in possession, we can determine the relative ‘pace’ of the game.  In this bubble chart, the size of the bubble depicts the amount of time in possession (scaled).

So what does this mean from this weekends data?” 

  • Pulse and Tactix were the quickest to score but among the slowest to actually move the ball
  • Steel moved the ball the fastest, while the Magic and Mystics moved the ball reasonably fast but tended to lose the ball and not score as often
  • Insight: Movement of the ball doesn’t need to be quick, so long as it’s accurate. 

So who has the early advantage?

te wānanga o raukawa

Manawataki Pulse

CP Conversions

An improvement on last season, the Pulse have upped the ante on their centre pass conversions. Averaging 73% to score, their off-season focus on consistency is paying off.


Not to be outdone by their attacking unit, Rore and co. did well to stop their opposition centre passes. Against the Pulse, teams averaged 56% to score.


On average, teams picked up less gains from the Pulse and struggled to convert those gains (also 56%).


Despite playing more games and fronting with a smaller squad, the Pulse swept through the weekend unbeaten. It's clear the Pulse have physically and mentally prepared themselves for the 2019 season.

The Players

Who stood up? And who is a future star?

Is this all we capture?

No way! We have kept things limited in this report, but rest assured this only scratches the surface of what Point 9 Analytics is all about.
  • We have detailed information on every team and individual player broken down by quarter, including multiple position specific measures and insights
  • We have information on the connections between every player on a team – in general play, on the centre pass and feeding into the shooting circle.  
  • We track momentum shifts in the game
  • And much more!


Analysis: In order to preserve the integrity of team strategies, we have intentionally kept our analysis as high-level as possible. To do this, we have reduced the use of raw counts in team contexts, we have kept our narratives to the evidence presented and we have offered limited insight and/or strategy advice. When the season starts, we reserve the right to shift our position.  

Data: All data is reported on a per-quarter basis (unless otherwise stated), making all measures directly comparable. This adjustment allows for teams who played more games, such as the Pulse, to be rightly compared to teams who played less games, such as the Stars. 

Photos: We do not own any photos. All photo credits are available in the specific image description.

Game Footage: Is owned and managed by Te Wānanga o Raukawa. You may be able to access the stored feeds via their Facebook page, Te Wānanga o Raukawa.

Legal Stuff: As per our Copyright fine print, Point 9 Analytics Ltd owns, or has the rights to publish, all data, media and analysis published herein. As per our Terms and Conditions, all rights are reserved. Any data from our website may not be distributed, commercialised or monetised without our express consent.

Countdown to tip off

The 2019 season kicks off with a Super Sunday hosted in Hamilton. All teams. One venue. One day.

We're live!