Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine


Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968
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JCReports 2016
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2017) 16, 22 - 26
Research article
Movement Demands and Running Intensities of Semi-Professional Rugby League Players during A 9’s Tournament: A Case Study
Paul Inglis1,2, Stephen P. Bird1,2,

1 Sport and Exercise Science, James Cook University, Cairns, QLD Australia
2 High Performance Unit, Northern Pride Rugby League, Cairns QLD Australia

Stephen P. Bird
✉ Sport and Exercise Science – High Performance Sport Initiative College of Healthcare Sciences James Cook University, PO Box 6811 Cairns QLD 4870 Australia

06-08-2016 -- Accepted: 16-12-2016 --
Published (online): 01-03-2017


The objective of the study was to describe the movement demands and running intensities of semi-professional rugby league players during a rugby league 9’s (RL9’s) tournament. Six semi-professional rugby league players competed in a RL9’s tournament over a two-day period comprising of six games. Movement demands and running intensities were recorded using Global Positioning System (GPS) devices providing data on distance and speeds. Data is presented as mean (95% Confidence Intervals) with changes (≥ 75%) likely to exceed the smallest worthwhile change (0.2) considered practically important. Outside backs performed significantly (p < 0.05) more relative VHSR (3.9 m [3.5-4.3] vs 2.4 m [2.1-2.8]) absolute (97.7 m [81.3-114.1] vs 22.6m [15.8-29.3]) and relative (5.0 m·min-1 [4.2-5.9] vs 1.2 m·min-1 [0.8-1.6]) sprint distance than the forwards. Outside backs also performed significantly (p < 0.05) more absolute (97.7 m [81.3-114.1] vs 43.9 m [27.2-60.7]) and relative (5.0 m·min-1 [4.2-5.9] vs 2.3 m·min-1 [1.4-3.2]) sprint distance than the adjustables. Moderate (0.6 – 1.2) to very large (> 2.0) decreases in performance variables were observed over the two days. The biggest magnitude of change over the two days was seen with very large decreases in relative HSR (- 2.10) and sprint (- 2.14) distance. Between playing groups, the outside backs had the biggest decrease in running intensity with a very large (- 2.32) significant (p < 0.05) decrease in VHSR on day 2 (3.3 m·min-1 [2.5 – 4.1]) compared to day 1 (4.9 m·min-1 [4.4 – 5.4]). Running intensities are decreased during an intensified RL9’s tournament in semi-professional rugby league players. The observed decreases in running performances between playing groups are in agreement with previous research and may support the use of individualized player monitoring and recovery management during a RL9’s tournament-style competition.

Key words: Rugby league, 9’s GPS, Running intensity
Key Points
Running intensities are decreased during an intensified rugby league 9’s tournament in semi-professional rugby league players.
Forwards and backs performed significantly less high-intensity sprint efforts on day two than day one of the tournament.
Appropriate planning and implementation of recovery strategies between games may reduce the potential effects of residual fatigue.



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