Telstra Tracker technology will again be in use for this year's Holden State of Origin series, bringing fans an extra level of insight around key plays such as that provided around a stunning period of defence by Blues fullback James Tedesco last year.
Tedesco's starring role in the 28-4 win in last year's series opener featured not just an incredible solo try but some of the most eye-catching defence seen by a fullback.
At a key juncture in the second half with the Blues camped on their own line and with the match still in the balance, Tedesco starts one play about 10 metres to the right of his own posts before sprinting 30 metres to his left just in time to make an incredible ball-and-all try-saving tackle on rampaging back-rower Matt Gillett.
The next play Tedesco ran 50 metres back across-field to help shut down another Maroons raid before the Queenslanders spread it rapidly to the opposite flank, with Tedesco sprinting 60 metres back to his right (for a total of 150 metres in two plays) where he ended up being the last line of defence pushing a try-bound Dane Gagai into touch.
"The hot spot with a player like that will be really good and to see where the game's played out, they're going to be some innovative insights into the game the fans haven't had before," Kangaroos (and former Maroons and Rabbitohs) high-performance manager Troy Thomson told NRL.com of the use of the Telstra Tracker.
Telstra Tracker: James Tedesco 2017
Thomson said high-performance coaches use such technology to gauge players' workloads and help guide their training but the same technology can also be used to give fans a greater insight into the efforts of elite rugby league players.
"On James, that's what's expected from him from our points of view, we (coaches) are not looking for those bits, we're looking to say 'he's done that so I would suggest during that game he's had a high workload overall' so that's something we'd be looking at," Thomson added.
"Across my time with the Queensland team, the amount of load we put into those players in the 2007 series compared to the 2015 series was very different.
"We're looking at it from a slightly different point of view. Some of the key metrics we'll see around the high speeds, that will be exciting stuff."
Newly appointed Kiwis Test coach Michael Maguire, who worked with Thomson for years at Souths – including the 2014 Premiership season – told NRL.com the technology will back up and illustrate fans' perceptions of athletes like Tedesco or Billy Slater as players who add tremendous value off the ball outside of their tackle-breaking, try-scoring feats.
"Someone like a Billy Slater, he might make five or six efforts prior to him actually making a tackle in the corner to save a try but to be able to identify that on screen and understand how far he's run just prior to that play or the try-saving tackle, I think that will be a real eye-opener for a lot of people," Maguire said.
Witness Australia's greatest sporting rivalry when Origin comes to the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday, June 6. Bronze tickets available from $49 here.