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SportsJanuary 28, 2016

Introducing the DAMP – a new tool for predicting future NRL scandals


Could the NRL’s latest off-field scandal have been predicted with the help of a mathematical formula similar to cricket’s WASP?

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Probably the weirdest thing about the NRL’s latest boozy scandal, in which Mitchell Pearce was filmed simulating a sex act on a dog after an Australia Day booze cruise, is that it’s not even the first time a prominent rugby league player has found himself in this predicament. In 2010 a photograph emerged following the Canberra Raiders’ ‘Mad Monday’ celebrations showing star winger Joel Monaghan in a similarly compromising position with the very same species.

Pearce’s antics are just the latest in a long line of scarcely believable and staggeringly bad things various NRL players have done after drinking something like 50-100 beers. Clear behavioral patterns are beginning to emerge – dogs are becoming a recurring theme, for example, and players also show an uncommonly strong predilection towards inappropriate defecation.

One of the many complex mathematical formulas found in cricket, the WASP (Winning and Score Predictor) takes into account a number of different variables – things like previous results and the ground the match is being played at – to predict the likely total of the team batting first, and the percentage chance of winning of the team batting second. Are we now at a stage where a similar formula can begin to be used to predict future rugby league behavioral scandals? The answer is yes.

Our Depravity and Misbehaviour Predictor (DAMP) takes into account details from all previous NRL scandals to predict both at-risk players and the potential indecent act they might commit. The formula could prove invaluable for clubs looking to limit further damage to their brands, or to news outlets eager to prepare funny graphics ahead of time.

We tested an early and very primitive version of the DAMP, setting the time frame 10 years in the future, when a new generation of league stars will rise and history will repeat. We have used a separate piece of software, the Rugby League Player Name Generator, to predict their names.

By factoring in things like binge drinking hotspots (Australia Day, Mad Monday etc.), the price of Toohey’s relative to average player salaries, and society’s overall moral decline, then splicing the data with common threads from past NRL scandals such as Todd Carney’s ‘bubbling’ incident, the DAMP paints a deeply worrying picture of the great game’s future:

February 6, 2026: footage emerges of St George-Illawarra prop Braygarth MacInnes urinating on the statue of Michael Jones outside Eden Park, after mistaking a NRL Nines hospitality tent for his team’s changing room and accidentally shotgunning a full keg of beer.

That's not on... Anyone by the Iceman
Oh that’s just not on… Anyone but the Iceman

September 12, 2027: Broncos winger Kain Trignathan is arrested at a late-night Brisbane jaffle restaurant for allegedly attempting to set fire to another patron’s dog after it tried to eat his jaffle.

Ah Jesus this is going to ruin my Fantasy NRL team
Ah Jesus this is going to screw up my Fantasy NRL team big time

December 23, 2027: Titans front rower Jareth Boone is issued a life ban from all Gold Coast casinos after CCTV footage emerges showing him attempting to perform a lewd act on a poker machine.

July 22, 2028: a Sydney taxi driver alleges Parramatta Eels halfback Timmy Grogan-Smith refused to pay a $29 fare, before defecating on the back seat and asking “do you accept PooPal?”

Ugh I can't believe he did that
Bloody hell! that’s disgusting

January 1, 2029: The fireworks display on the Sydney Harbour Bridge has to be postponed until 1am after Newcastle Knights captain Paul Citronella is found nude and riding a golf cart on the bridge at 11:55pm. “I just wanted to have sex with a live firework” he admits to police.

That's just wrong, plain and simple
I can’t believe it… utter stupidity

August 3, 2029: A new try celebration sweeps the NRL whereby players proudly and unashamedly defecate on the pitch after scoring. In the Monday night game between the Storm and the Cowboys, Storm kicker Zaxon O’Neill uses one of the stools as a makeshift tee, and successfully makes the conversion.

August 10, 2029: The NRL is disestablished midseason.

Keep going!