A rugby union hand notation archive

I am using Google Sites to curate an archive of two decades (1980-2000) of my real-time hand notation of rugby union football.

I am hoping that in sharing these notations with a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence (CC BY 4.0) they may be of use in secondary data analysis. The Google Sites provide links to my Google Sheets for the data collected.

I aim to add to the site whenever I have an opportunity. At present there are two pages that share data:

  • 1980 (my first attempt at real-time notation)
  • 1992

My hand notation journey started in order to inform and transform my coaching. I tried to see what coaches might see and thought my notations might help me have conversations with other coaches.

I was mindful that coaches observed games in real-time. At the time I started my notation, video recording was still quite novel. I chose not to use video in the early days of developing my systems.

I spent a lot of time practising the notations whilst watching live broadcasts of games. Gradually, I think my intra-observer reliability improved substantially. In the 1980s, I did not conduct any inter-observer reliability studies.

I do think that any errors in my data might be minor and within the accepted limits of reliability. I see these early notations rather like a dance notation. They are records of performance that make the performances more permanent and amenable to conversation.

This was particularly the case in 1982 when I started to indicate ball in play time as distinct from total game time. And in 1985 when I started to look at activity cycles.

In the 1990s, I was fortunate to work with the Welsh Rugby Union. My data in that decade combined real-time hand notation to support coaches within games and lapsed-time forensic analysis of the world game.

#AFLW 2018 Grand Final

The AFLW 2018 Grand Final was played on Saturday at Ikon Park, Carlton. Western Bulldogs defeated Brisbane 27 v 21.

My record of the final compared to the median season profile of winners and losers is:

Earlier this week, I had a look at the kind of final it might be. I thought the important game response from Brisbane was to contain the Western Bulldogs in the second quarter and then lift in the third quarter. Brisbane led at half time and held the Western Bulldogs to 0 in the second quarter.

It was the Bulldogs who lifted in the third quarter and scored 19 unanswered points. Brisbane countered in the fourth quarter but ended up one goal short of a tied game.

In my Grand Final scenarios using median profiles, a Western Bulldogs win was suggested as 4 points.

Photo Credits

Grand Final Day rain (Justina Ashman, Twitter)

Final Quarter (Sam Mostyn, Twitter)

What kind of #AFLW Grand Final in 2018?

The 2018 AFLW season concludes this weekend with the Grand Final between the Western Bulldogs and the Brisbane Lions.

I have used both teams’ seven games to identify a median profile of their performances and their opponents in the regular season.

Western Bulldogs


Western Bulldogs and Brisbane

Scoring Scenarios

Western Bulldogs win, game score approximates to 41 v 37 median profile (Western Bulldogs dominate first half, Brisbane lift second half).

Brisbane win, game score approximates to 30 v 16 median profile (strong second quarter defence sets up second half game control for Brisbane).

The score in round 2 when the teams met was 33 v 24 to the Western Bulldogs. (Half time score was 26 v 3.)

Photo Credit

Frame grab (AFL website)