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A comparative analysis of professional rugby league football playing patterns between Australia and the United Kingdom


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The aim of this study was to establish whether the playing patterns of professional rugby league teams in the English Super League (SL) were different from teams playing in the Australian National Rugby League (NRL). Twelve games of professional rugby league were notated post-event using the SportsCode Elite system. Initial intra-observer reliability analysis established that the level of observer agreement exceeded 95% for all variables and for the identification of playing zones. Data analysis revealed a significant difference in the percentage of plays in the defence zone (t = −3.33, P <0.01) and transition zone (t = 3.67, P < 0.005), with teams in the NRL spending less time in transition, but more time in the defence zone. Analysis further revealed that teams in the NRL utilised the hit up in the attack zone significantly more than teams in the SL (t = −2.29, P < 0.05) and employed the turtle tackle significantly more when the play was in their defence zone (t = −3.31, P < 0.009). It was concluded that teams in the NRL are more adept than teams in SL at confining their opponents to the defence zone. In addition they play a more expansive game in the transition zone which enables them to move more quickly into the attack zone.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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