Thurston & Marshall not in the CVR top 15 players By Scott Woodward The quality of the data that is input into building Sportsdata’s NRL Contribution Value Rating (CVR) is only as valuable as the 50 chosen filters that spurt out the final analysis, which is often heavily interpreted already. Bulldogs coach Des Hasler claims to have used the CVR and has contributed the analytics to building his two grand-final winning teams. But my guess is that Des looks at the data and then massages it with his own twist. How can you take any NRL Value Rating system seriously that does not have the world’s best player Jonathan Thurston in the top 15 players? Benji Marshall is arguably the best Kiwi to have ever played the game, yet he also misses out on the top 15. The CVR system is designed to give coaches the value contribution of each player in each game, based on 50 different aspects of a game that they perceive “valuable”. I am not privy to the entire list, but based on their top 15 players they have clearly omitted the most value characteristic. The most valuable analytics that sit in my database includes key influences on the result of a game. On top of that list are players who have skill and contribute the most to changing the result of a game. In other words, I am talking about players who are so dominant they change the market and influence millions of dollars changing hands prior to a game if they are in or not. These would be the guys a recruitment manager would buy first if they had a blank cheque and no salary cap. There is no question that these players are the key position men who touch the ball the most and normally play halfback, five-eight, hooker or fullback. To underline my point, Sportsdata rates Paul Gallen the best player in the world. I rate him the best forward in the world but, despite the fact he contributes over 200 metres in most Shark games Todd Carney is the go-to man and is the club’s most influential on-field player. This opinion was underlined when Sharks were lost without Carney and Gallen in round 10, when they went down to the Bulldogs 26-6. But they were able to defeat the Storm (12-10) the previous week without Gallen. Carney has given the Sharks a live chance at the premiership this year. Sportsdata has three forwards in the top 11 players, Gallen, Corey Parker and James Tamou. I certainly consider that Corey Parker should be a Maroon, but I have at least five other players in his Broncos team rated more valuable, especially his halfback and general Peter Wallace. As of 2 June, the top 11 players based on a CVR per game are: Gallen, Greg Inglis, Isaac Luke, Billy Slater, Jarryd Hayne, Parker, Cooper Cronk, Josh Dugan, Ben Barba, Cameron Smith and Tamou. Here is how I would rank 11 players, based on their ability to influence a game (CVR ranking in brackets): 1. Johnathan Thurston (not in top 15) 2. Cooper Cronk (7th) 3. Cameron Smith (10th) 4. Benji Marshall (not in top 15) 5. Greg Inglis (second) 6. Billy Slater (4th) 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (not in top 15) 8. Robbie Farah (not in top 15) 9. Isaac Luke (3rd) 10. Ben Barba (9th) 11. Brett Stewart (not in top 15)