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Relationship Between Tests of Physical Qualities, Team Selection, and Physical Match Performance in Semiprofessional Rugby League Players

Gabbett, Tim J.1,2; Seibold, Anthony J.3

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: December 2013 - Volume 27 - Issue 12 - p 3259–3265
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31828d6219
Original Research

Gabbett, TJ and Seibold, AJ. Relationship between tests of physical qualities, team selection, and physical match performance in semiprofessional rugby league players. J Strength Cond Res 27(12): 3259–3265, 2013—This study investigated the physical qualities that discriminated state-based rugby league players competing for selection in a semiprofessional rugby league team, and determined the relationship between tests of physical qualities and physical match performance in these players. Thirty-two rugby league players (mean ± SD age, 24 ± 3 years) from a Queensland Cup rugby league squad participated in this study. The players performed tests of upper-body strength (3 repetition maximum [RM] bench press; 3RM weighted chin-up), upper-body strength endurance (body-mass maximum repetition bench press), lower-body strength (3RM squat), lower-body power (vertical jump), and prolonged high-intensity intermittent running ability (Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test, level 1). Global positioning system data, sampling at 10 Hz, were collected during 5 Queensland Cup rugby league matches. Selected players had greater (p < 0.05) 3RM squat, 3RM chin-up, body-mass bench press, vertical jump, and Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test performances than nonselected players. After controlling for playing position, players with better 3RM squat performances covered greater total distances (r = 0.98, p < 0.05) including greater distances at low (r = 0.98, p < 0.05) and high (r = 0.97, p < 0.05) speeds. Significant associations (r = 0.96, p < 0.05) were also found between 3RM squat performances and the number of repeated high-intensity effort bouts performed in competition. These findings highlight the importance of lower-body strength, upper-body strength and endurance, and prolonged high-intensity intermittent running ability to team selection in semiprofessional rugby league. Furthermore, our findings suggest that well-developed lower-body strength contributes to effective physical match performance in semiprofessional rugby league players.

1School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Australia;

2School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia; and

3Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club, Melbourne, Australia

Address correspondence to Dr. Tim J. Gabbett,

Copyright © 2013 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.