Activity and recovery cycles of national rugby league matches involving higher and lower ranked teams

Gabbett, Tim J. (2013) Activity and recovery cycles of national rugby league matches involving higher and lower ranked teams. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 27 (6). pp. 1623-1628. ISSN 1533-4295


This study investigated the influence of ladder position on ball-in-play and recovery periods in elite National Rugby League (NRL) competitive matches. Video recordings of 192 NRL matches and 18 NRL finals matches played over 2 competitive seasons were coded for activity and recovery cycles. Time when the ball was continuously in play was considered activity, whereas any stoppages during the match (e.g., for scrums, penalties, line drop outs, tries, and video referee decisions) were considered recovery. In comparison to matches involving lower standard teams, there was a greater proportion (effect size [ES] = 0.37?0.67) of long duration (>91 seconds) and a smaller proportion (ES = 0.49?0.68) of short duration (<45 seconds) ball-in-play periods when Top 4 teams were competing against other Top 4 teams. No meaningful differences were found between teams of different ladder positions for the proportion of short (ES = 0.04?0.16) and long (ES = 0.06?0.28) recovery periods. In comparison to fixture matches involving the top 4 teams, finals matches had a smaller proportion (ES = 0.56) of long duration activity periods, and a greater proportion (ES = 0.54) of short duration activity periods. Only small differences were found between finals matches and matches involving the Top 4 teams for the proportion of short (ES = 0.42) and long (ES = 0.41) recovery periods. These findings suggest that the competitive advantage of the best NRL teams is closely linked to their ability to maintain a higher playing intensity than less successful teams. Furthermore, long ball-in-play periods in high-standard fixture matches (i.e., involving the top 4 teams) ensure that players are adequately prepared for the ballin-play demands of finals matches.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 24 May 2017 03:26
Last Modified: 24 May 2017 03:26
Uncontrolled Keywords: ball-in-play; football; high-intensity; team sport; training
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420799 Sports science and exercise not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
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