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Game location and aggression in rugby league

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The present study examined the relationship between aggression and game location in rugby league. We videotaped a random sample of 21 professional rugby league games played in the 2000 Super League season. Trained observers recorded the frequency of aggressive behaviours. Consistent with previous research, which used territoriality theories as a basis for prediction, we hypothesized that the home team would behave more aggressively than the away team. The results showed no significant difference in the frequency of aggressive behaviours exhibited by the home and away teams. However, the away teams engaged in substantially more aggressive behaviours in games they lost compared with games they won. No significant differences in the pattern of aggressive behaviours for home and away teams emerged as a function of game time (i.e. first or second half) or game situation (i.e. when teams were winning, losing or drawing). The findings suggest that while home and away teams do not display different levels of aggression, the cost of behaving aggressively (in terms of game outcome) may be greater for the away team.
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Keywords: Home advantage; observational methods; rugby league

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Sport, Health and Exercise, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK 2: Department of Kinesiology, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada 3: Division of Sport Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2005

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