The demands of professional rugby league match-play: a meta-analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Rugby league is a collision sport, where players are expected to be physically competent in a range of areas, including aerobic fitness, strength, speed and power. Several studies have attempted to characterise the physical demands of rugby league match-play, but these studies often have relatively small sample sizes based on one or two clubs, which makes generalisation of the findings difficult. Therefore, the aim of this review was to synthesise studies that investigated the physical demands of professional rugby league match-play. Methods: SPORTDiscus, CINAHL, MEDLINE (EBSCO) and Embase (EBSCO) databases were systematically searched from inception until October 2018. Articles were included if they (1) recruited professional rugby league athletes aged ≥ 18 years and (2) provided at least one match-play relevant variable (including playing time, total and relative distance, repeat high-intensity efforts (RHIE), efforts per RHIE, accelerations and decelerations, total and relative collisions). Meta-analyses were used to provide pooled estimates ± 95% confidence intervals. Results: A total of 30 studies were included. Pooled estimates indicated that, compared to adjustables and backs, forwards have less playing time (− 17.2 ± 5.6 and − 25.6 ± 5.8 min, respectively), cover less ‘slow-speed’ (− 2230 ± 735 and − 1348 ± 655 m, respectively) and ‘high-speed’ distance (− 139 ± 108 and − 229 ± 101 m, respectively), but complete more relative RHIEs (+ 0.05 ± 0.05 and + 0.08 ± 0.04 per minute, respectively), and total (+ 12.0 ± 8.1 and + 12.8 ± 7.2 collisions, respectively) and relative collisions (+ 0.32 ± 0.22 and + 0.41 ± 0.22 collisions per minute, respectively). Notably, when the distance was expressed relative to playing time, forwards were not different from adjustables and backs in slow-speed (P ≥ 0.295) and high-speed (P ≥ 0.889) relative distance. The adjustables and backs subgroups were similar in most variables, except playing time (shorter for adjustables, − 8.5 ± 6.2 min), slow-speed distance (greater for adjustables, + 882 ± 763 m) and total relative distance (greater for adjustables, + 11.3 ± 5.2 m·min−1). There were no significant differences between positional groups for efforts per RHIE, accelerations and decelerations (P ≥ 0.745). Conclusions: These results indicate the unique physical demands of each playing position and should be considered by strength and conditioning and tactical coaches when planning for professional rugby league performance. Protocol Registration: https://osf.io/83tq2/.

LanguageEnglish
Article number24
Pages1-20
Number of pages20
JournalSports Medicine - Open
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2019

Fingerprint

Football
Meta-Analysis
Deceleration
MEDLINE
Athletes
Sample Size
Sports
Databases
Confidence Intervals

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • Collisions
  • Football
  • Global positioning system
  • Performance
  • Playing position

Cite this

@article{0a6a15476f4a402fa518937b119eef8d,
title = "The demands of professional rugby league match-play: a meta-analysis",
abstract = "Background: Rugby league is a collision sport, where players are expected to be physically competent in a range of areas, including aerobic fitness, strength, speed and power. Several studies have attempted to characterise the physical demands of rugby league match-play, but these studies often have relatively small sample sizes based on one or two clubs, which makes generalisation of the findings difficult. Therefore, the aim of this review was to synthesise studies that investigated the physical demands of professional rugby league match-play. Methods: SPORTDiscus, CINAHL, MEDLINE (EBSCO) and Embase (EBSCO) databases were systematically searched from inception until October 2018. Articles were included if they (1) recruited professional rugby league athletes aged ≥ 18 years and (2) provided at least one match-play relevant variable (including playing time, total and relative distance, repeat high-intensity efforts (RHIE), efforts per RHIE, accelerations and decelerations, total and relative collisions). Meta-analyses were used to provide pooled estimates ± 95{\%} confidence intervals. Results: A total of 30 studies were included. Pooled estimates indicated that, compared to adjustables and backs, forwards have less playing time (− 17.2 ± 5.6 and − 25.6 ± 5.8 min, respectively), cover less ‘slow-speed’ (− 2230 ± 735 and − 1348 ± 655 m, respectively) and ‘high-speed’ distance (− 139 ± 108 and − 229 ± 101 m, respectively), but complete more relative RHIEs (+ 0.05 ± 0.05 and + 0.08 ± 0.04 per minute, respectively), and total (+ 12.0 ± 8.1 and + 12.8 ± 7.2 collisions, respectively) and relative collisions (+ 0.32 ± 0.22 and + 0.41 ± 0.22 collisions per minute, respectively). Notably, when the distance was expressed relative to playing time, forwards were not different from adjustables and backs in slow-speed (P ≥ 0.295) and high-speed (P ≥ 0.889) relative distance. The adjustables and backs subgroups were similar in most variables, except playing time (shorter for adjustables, − 8.5 ± 6.2 min), slow-speed distance (greater for adjustables, + 882 ± 763 m) and total relative distance (greater for adjustables, + 11.3 ± 5.2 m·min−1). There were no significant differences between positional groups for efforts per RHIE, accelerations and decelerations (P ≥ 0.745). Conclusions: These results indicate the unique physical demands of each playing position and should be considered by strength and conditioning and tactical coaches when planning for professional rugby league performance. Protocol Registration: https://osf.io/83tq2/.",
keywords = "Collisions, Football, Global positioning system, Performance, Playing position",
author = "Glassbrook, {Daniel J.} and Doyle, {Tim L. A.} and Alderson, {Jacqueline A.} and Fuller, {Joel T.}",
note = "Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.",
year = "2019",
month = "6",
day = "11",
doi = "10.1186/s40798-019-0197-9",
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volume = "5",
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The demands of professional rugby league match-play : a meta-analysis. / Glassbrook, Daniel J.; Doyle, Tim L. A.; Alderson, Jacqueline A.; Fuller, Joel T.

In: Sports Medicine - Open, Vol. 5, No. 1, 24, 11.06.2019, p. 1-20.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - The demands of professional rugby league match-play

T2 - Sports Medicine - Open

AU - Glassbrook, Daniel J.

AU - Doyle, Tim L. A.

AU - Alderson, Jacqueline A.

AU - Fuller, Joel T.

N1 - Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

PY - 2019/6/11

Y1 - 2019/6/11

N2 - Background: Rugby league is a collision sport, where players are expected to be physically competent in a range of areas, including aerobic fitness, strength, speed and power. Several studies have attempted to characterise the physical demands of rugby league match-play, but these studies often have relatively small sample sizes based on one or two clubs, which makes generalisation of the findings difficult. Therefore, the aim of this review was to synthesise studies that investigated the physical demands of professional rugby league match-play. Methods: SPORTDiscus, CINAHL, MEDLINE (EBSCO) and Embase (EBSCO) databases were systematically searched from inception until October 2018. Articles were included if they (1) recruited professional rugby league athletes aged ≥ 18 years and (2) provided at least one match-play relevant variable (including playing time, total and relative distance, repeat high-intensity efforts (RHIE), efforts per RHIE, accelerations and decelerations, total and relative collisions). Meta-analyses were used to provide pooled estimates ± 95% confidence intervals. Results: A total of 30 studies were included. Pooled estimates indicated that, compared to adjustables and backs, forwards have less playing time (− 17.2 ± 5.6 and − 25.6 ± 5.8 min, respectively), cover less ‘slow-speed’ (− 2230 ± 735 and − 1348 ± 655 m, respectively) and ‘high-speed’ distance (− 139 ± 108 and − 229 ± 101 m, respectively), but complete more relative RHIEs (+ 0.05 ± 0.05 and + 0.08 ± 0.04 per minute, respectively), and total (+ 12.0 ± 8.1 and + 12.8 ± 7.2 collisions, respectively) and relative collisions (+ 0.32 ± 0.22 and + 0.41 ± 0.22 collisions per minute, respectively). Notably, when the distance was expressed relative to playing time, forwards were not different from adjustables and backs in slow-speed (P ≥ 0.295) and high-speed (P ≥ 0.889) relative distance. The adjustables and backs subgroups were similar in most variables, except playing time (shorter for adjustables, − 8.5 ± 6.2 min), slow-speed distance (greater for adjustables, + 882 ± 763 m) and total relative distance (greater for adjustables, + 11.3 ± 5.2 m·min−1). There were no significant differences between positional groups for efforts per RHIE, accelerations and decelerations (P ≥ 0.745). Conclusions: These results indicate the unique physical demands of each playing position and should be considered by strength and conditioning and tactical coaches when planning for professional rugby league performance. Protocol Registration: https://osf.io/83tq2/.

AB - Background: Rugby league is a collision sport, where players are expected to be physically competent in a range of areas, including aerobic fitness, strength, speed and power. Several studies have attempted to characterise the physical demands of rugby league match-play, but these studies often have relatively small sample sizes based on one or two clubs, which makes generalisation of the findings difficult. Therefore, the aim of this review was to synthesise studies that investigated the physical demands of professional rugby league match-play. Methods: SPORTDiscus, CINAHL, MEDLINE (EBSCO) and Embase (EBSCO) databases were systematically searched from inception until October 2018. Articles were included if they (1) recruited professional rugby league athletes aged ≥ 18 years and (2) provided at least one match-play relevant variable (including playing time, total and relative distance, repeat high-intensity efforts (RHIE), efforts per RHIE, accelerations and decelerations, total and relative collisions). Meta-analyses were used to provide pooled estimates ± 95% confidence intervals. Results: A total of 30 studies were included. Pooled estimates indicated that, compared to adjustables and backs, forwards have less playing time (− 17.2 ± 5.6 and − 25.6 ± 5.8 min, respectively), cover less ‘slow-speed’ (− 2230 ± 735 and − 1348 ± 655 m, respectively) and ‘high-speed’ distance (− 139 ± 108 and − 229 ± 101 m, respectively), but complete more relative RHIEs (+ 0.05 ± 0.05 and + 0.08 ± 0.04 per minute, respectively), and total (+ 12.0 ± 8.1 and + 12.8 ± 7.2 collisions, respectively) and relative collisions (+ 0.32 ± 0.22 and + 0.41 ± 0.22 collisions per minute, respectively). Notably, when the distance was expressed relative to playing time, forwards were not different from adjustables and backs in slow-speed (P ≥ 0.295) and high-speed (P ≥ 0.889) relative distance. The adjustables and backs subgroups were similar in most variables, except playing time (shorter for adjustables, − 8.5 ± 6.2 min), slow-speed distance (greater for adjustables, + 882 ± 763 m) and total relative distance (greater for adjustables, + 11.3 ± 5.2 m·min−1). There were no significant differences between positional groups for efforts per RHIE, accelerations and decelerations (P ≥ 0.745). Conclusions: These results indicate the unique physical demands of each playing position and should be considered by strength and conditioning and tactical coaches when planning for professional rugby league performance. Protocol Registration: https://osf.io/83tq2/.

KW - Collisions

KW - Football

KW - Global positioning system

KW - Performance

KW - Playing position

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DO - 10.1186/s40798-019-0197-9

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