There is a scarcity of research on the movement demands of women’s rugby league match-play.

Jaede Melinz, Research Masters Candidate, Sports Science, School of Science and Technology

Jaede Melinz completed a Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise and Sport Science) in 2017 through the University of Sydney. Throughout this degree, Jaede was a recipient of the Puggy Hunter Memorial scholarship, reflecting her passion and commitment to her studies. Jaede is currently undertaking a Master of Science at the University of New England, where she has been awarded the Indigenous Higher Degree Research Scholarship. Her research focuses upon the movement demands and physical characteristics of female rugby league players.

Photo: Post presentation on-field from the Open Women’s NSW State of Origin team, 2019. Courtesy of Gregg Porteous @NRL Photos.

Rugby league is a collision-based team-sport involving frequent bouts of high and low intensity activity. In recent years there has been a development in pathway opportunities for female rugby league athletes. Alongside this, in 2017 there was a 32% increase in registered female participation in rugby league within Australia, and a further 29% increase in 2018. Due to this increase in female participation there is now an established clear pathway for talented young female athletes, from 12 years old through to adult (“open aged”) to compete in rugby league competitions.

Despite the increase in female participation and the established elite women’s rugby league pathways, there is a scarcity of research on the movement demands of women’s rugby league match-play; indeed, a literature review yielded only 8 papers on women and rugby league, with none of these papers addressing the demands of match-play. Research in women’s rugby league is fundamental and paramount in the development of talent and career support pathways.

Jaede’s masters research is establishing foundational research into the demands of women’s rugby league. Through collating and analysing sports science data (such as absolute, relative and peak duration demands), in conjunction with New South Wales Rugby League, collected from the Women’s National Championships and the State-of-Origin matches, this research will provide insight into the physical demands of women’s rugby league. Outcomes from the research will be integral to guiding the development of training programs that prepare players for the specific physical and tactical demands of rugby league match-play. Jaede’s research will also contribute to providing an evidence-based baseline for talent, whilst also providing evidence for establishing and implementing positional specific training drills that enhance player preparation for the demands of match-play.