Discipline: 
Mathematics
Status: 
No longer available
Level: 
PhD Project
Level: 
Masters Project
Level: 
Honours Project
Supervisor(s): 
Dr Michael Bulmer, Dr Michael Forbes

Operations research has been applied to several problems in sports, but rarely (if ever) to rugby league.  In this project we consider the problem of what strategy a team should adopt in rugby league.  An initial model of the game could look something like this:

1. Assume each half consists of a fixed number of sets of six tackles.

2. The state of the game is represented by which set we are up to, the points difference and the distance from the try line.

3. At the beginning of each set the attacking team must choose from a number of strategies, based on the state of the game.

The model could be extended with consideration of different strategies for the defending team and extending the state to include number of interchanges and fatigue.  As the model grows in detail, Approximate Dynamic Programming might be required to obtain reasonable solutions.

Estimation of transition probabilities would be a challenge for the project.