Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 08:45
The Broncos take on the Cowboys this weekend in Sydney.
The Broncos take on the Cowboys this weekend in Sydney.

They’ve set the pace for much of the National Rugby League season, and the Brisbane Broncos are working with the University of Queensland to lead the competition off the park as well.

Since announcing a partnership in April 2015, the Broncos and UQ have been exploring any potential area of advantage.

Without giving much away, UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences high performance expert Vince Kelly said there were several research projects under way with potential impact for the Broncos.

“One interesting study is centred on what we call ‘sleep hygiene’, basically using sleep as a weapon for better performance,” Mr Kelly said.

“Most people are aware that effective sleep helps recovery and tissue repair, so we’re building an education intervention around that, particularly aimed at the Broncos’ younger players.

“It considers everything from how long they should use their mobile phone through to the environment they sleep in.

“In the English Premier League they drill down to what specific type of pillow each player should use, but I don’t know if we will go that far just yet.”

Another UQ-developed tool which is already being utilised by the NRL powerhouse is the Match Difficulty Index.

Proving remarkably accurate, the index predicts the outcome of each game based on a number of factors, including home ground advantage, time between matches, the ranking of both teams and line-up changes.

“It actually becomes more interesting when the team performance does not reflect the prediction of the model,” Mr Kelly said.

“If the model has said you should lose, but you end up winning, can you track that back to something you did in preparation or was it an extraordinary performance by the players?

“Likewise, if you should have won, but in reality you lost, what has gone wrong there that you can identify?”

Mr Kelly said the Match Difficulty Index successfully predicted the Broncos’ round 21 loss to Manly (44-14), which took many by surprise at the time.

Other UQ projects underway with rugby league implications include an analysis of developmental pathways, the value of sports nutrition and methods of post-match recovery.

Media: Mr Vince Kelly, v.kelly2@uq.edu.au or UQ Communications Robert Burgin, +617 3346 3035, +61 0448 410 364, r.burgin@uq.edu.au.