The aim of this study was to describe the positional game demands of international rugby league and establish whether differences exist between senior and junior match play. Global Positioning System (GPS) and video analysis were used to track 118 elite male rugby league players (57 seniors aged 28.7 ± 4.4 y; 61 juniors aged 17.2 ± .5 y) over 10 international matches (6 senior; 4 junior) characterized as either forwards (n¬ = 67) or backs (n = 51). There were significant increases in the offensive carries (0.18 cf. 0.09 n.min-1; r = .56) and defensive tackles (0.36 cf. 0.23 n.min-1; r = .3) between senior and junior players, as well as forwards and backs (0.16 cf. 0.09; r = .34 and 0.41 cf. 0.14; r = .52) respectively. Running demands were significantly greater in backs than forwards (independent of playing level) for total distance (6962 ± 1263 m cf. 4879 ± 1824 m; r = .55), individualized high speed distances (310 ± 158 m cf. 250 ± 171 m; r = .2), high-intensity accelerations (28.7 ± 12.1 m•s-1 cf. 21.9 ± 11.7 m•s-1; r = .27) and decelerations (57.2 ± 18.3 m•s-1 cf. 43.0 ± 17.8 m•s-1; r = .38). Positional differences were eliminated when reported relative to minutes played. Whilst movement demands relative to time on pitch might prepare junior players for senior competition, it is not representative of the contact demands within the senior game.
- movement demands
- team sports
- high intensity running
- playing level
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- Moray House School of Education and Sport - Senior Lecturer
- Institute for Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences
- Academy of Sport
Person: Academic: Research Active