A comparison of fitness and skill among playing positions in sub-elite rugby league players
Gabbett, T. J, Kelly, J. N & Pezet, T. (2008). A comparison of fitness and skill among playing positions in sub-elite rugby league players. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport,11 585-592. Australia: Sports Medicine Australia. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2007.07.004
In rugby league, individual playing positions require a wide range of physical performance qualities and offensive and defensive skills. This study investigated the physical performance, anthropometric, and skill characteristics of specific playing positions in sub-elite rugby league players. Ninety-eight sub-elite rugby league players (mean ± S.D. age, 22.5 ± 4.9 years) participated in this study. Players underwent measurements of anthropometry (height, body mass, and sum of four skinfolds), muscular power (vertical jump), speed (10 m, 20 m, and 40 m sprint), change of direction speed (L run), and maximal aerobic power (multistage fitness test). In addition, two expert coaches independently assessed the skill of players using standardised technical criteria. Hit-up forwards were heavier and had greater skinfold thickness than the adjustables and outside backs positional groups. Furthermore, hit-up forwards had significantly (p < 0.05) slower change of direction speed than outside backs, and slower 20 m and 40 m speed than both the adjustables and outside backs positional groups. Hit-up forwards had a significantly greater (p < 0.05) ability to ‘hit and spin’ than both adjustables and outside backs. The evasion skills (i.e. ability to beat a player and 2 versus 1 ability) of adjustables and outside backs were significantly greater (p < 0.05) than hit-up forwards. Adjustables had significantly greater (p < 0.05) skills under physiological game stress than hit-up forwards and better catching, ball carrying, and basic passing skills than the hit-up forwards and outside backs. These findings demonstrate that the physical performance, anthropometric, and skill qualities of sub-elite rugby league players vary according to playing position.