Influence of an intensified competition on fatigue and match performance in junior rugby league players

Johnston, Rich D., Gabbett, Tim J. and Jenkins, David G. (2013) Influence of an intensified competition on fatigue and match performance in junior rugby league players. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 16 5: 460-465. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2012.10.009

Author Johnston, Rich D.
Gabbett, Tim J.
Jenkins, David G.
Title Influence of an intensified competition on fatigue and match performance in junior rugby league players
Journal name Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1440-2440
Publication date 2013-09
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jsams.2012.10.009
Volume 16
Issue 5
Start page 460
End page 465
Total pages 6
Place of publication Chatswood, NSW Australia
Publisher Elsevier Australia
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the physiological responses to an intensified rugby league competition and explore the relationships between fatigue and match performance. Design: Prospective cohort study.

Fifteen junior rugby league players (n= 8 forwards, 7 backs; mean ± SE, age 16.6 ± 0.2 years; body mass 81.6 ± 3.0. kg; and height 178.9 ± 1.8. cm) competed in five 40. min games over 5 days (two games each on days 1 and 2, one game on day 4, and no games on days 3 and 5). Over the competition, players performed a countermovement jump to assess neuromuscular fatigue, provided a fingertip blood sample to measure blood creatine kinase, and completed a questionnaire to monitor perceived wellbeing; ratings of perceived effort were recorded following each game. Global positioning system and video analysis of each game were used to assess match performance.

Over the first 3 days, there were progressive and large increases in neuromuscular fatigue which peaked 12. h after game 4 (forwards ES = 4.45, p= 0.014; backs ES = 3.62, p= 0.029), and muscle damage which peaked 1. h post game 4 (forwards ES = 4.45, p= 0.004; backs ES = 3.94 p= 0.012), as well as reductions in perceived wellbeing. These measures gradually recovered over the final 2 days of the competition. Compared to the backs, the forwards experienced greater increases in creatine kinase following game 2 (ES = 1.30) and game 4 (ES = 1.24) and reductions in perceived wellbeing (ES = 0.25-0.46). Match intensity, high-speed running, and repeated-high intensity effort bouts decreased in games 4 and 5 of the competition. Small to large associations were observed between the changes in fatigue, muscle damage and match performance, with significant correlations between creatine kinase and repeated high-intensity effort bout number (r= -0.70, p= 0.031) and frequency (r= 0.74, p= 0.002) and low-speed activity (r= -0.56, p= 0.029).

Fatigue and muscle damage accumulate over an intensified competition, which is likely to contribute to reductions in high-intensity activities and work rates during competition
Keyword Neuromuscular fatigue
Muscle damage
Team sports
Physical Performance
Game intensity
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
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