Finding the Blues of the future

Published 08 June 2018

An exciting new partnership between the University of New England and NSW Rugby League was publicly announced at the first State of Origin match, in the form of UNE’s logo appearing on the shorts of the winning Blues team. But the partnership goes much deeper than logo placement. UNE has committed its expertise in Exercise and Sport Science towards supporting the NSW RL build the winning Origin teams of the future.

“UNE’s human performance research is internationally renowned, and that expertise will be invested in discovering and developing the elite Blues players of the future,” said Professor Aron Murphy, Dean of Science, Agriculture, Business and Law.

“This is a great opportunity for UNE researchers to work directly with a well-run professional organisation to create new knowledge and further understanding of what it takes to perform as an elite rugby league player, both now and in the future.”

As part of the 10-year partnership agreement, UNE will run state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities in the NSW RL Centre of Excellence, currently under construction in Homebush, Sydney. The NSW RL is supporting the appointment of UNE post-doctoral researchers.

Prof. Murphy said along with important research on the peak performance of the human body, UNE is building a unique integration between its sports science and computational science disciplines to unlock the mysteries of talent identification, improved physical performance and enhanced well-being of all players, from the very junior to the elite players of the game.

UNE has been a pioneer in the field of digital agriculture, which is deploying technology in new ways to monitor and analyse the behaviour and performance of livestock.

“We are drawing on some of the knowledge we have developed in machine learning and modelling in agriculture, and applying it to assess how young up-and-coming and elite athletes can perform at their peak”, Prof. Murphy continued.

The NSW RL wants a competitive advantage, and UNE’s role is to develop new technologies and decision support tools that support a cutting edge development, monitoring and performance sports science program for the Blues.

This partnership is also a huge boost to the university’s Exercise and Sports Science teaching programs, demonstrating UNE’s commitment to providing a ‘real-world’ education and experience for our students.

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