Redman, K, Steel, K, Kelly, V, and Siegler, J. Effects of a rugby league match simulation on decision-making in elite junior rugby league. J Strength Cond Res 35(7): 1972–1980, 2021—The paucity of research on decision-making in Rugby league within the context of a match, and the potential for age and playing experience to influence decision-making ability, warrants further investigation. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the effects of a simulated rugby league match on decision-making in elite junior rugby league players. Twenty male junior rugby league players (age 15.9 6 0.9 years, body mass 87.3 6 14.3 kg, height 1.82 6 0.07 m, playing experience 10.2 6 2.4 years) completed a match simulation protocol that replicated the physiological demands of an elite junior rugby league match. Decision-making performance was measured prematch, midmatch, and postmatch simulation through a reactive agility test and video-based temporal occlusion task. Upper- and lower-body neuromuscular measures as well as ratings of perceived exertion were obtained before decision-making assessments to quantify fatigue. A 2-way mixed analysis of variance with Bonferroni corrections was used to assess changes during the simulation, and significance was accepted at p, 0.05. The main finding of this study was despite observing a decline in neuromuscular function during the match simulation protocol (countermovement jump declined 1.9 6 0.6 cm [95% confidence intervals 0.4–3.5]; p, 0.05), this decline did not significantly affect decision-making performance (reactive agility test [p = 0.58]; temporal occlusion [p = 0.88]). These results suggest elite junior rugby league players are capable of sustaining performance during a progressively fatiguing match simulation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation