Conceptualising Rugby League Performance Within an Ecological Dynamics Framework: Providing Direction for Player Preparation and Development

Thumbnail Image
File version

Version of Record (VoR)

Scott, Tannath J
Sanctuary, Colin E
Tredrea, Matthew S
Gray, Adrian J
Griffith University Author(s)
Primary Supervisor
Other Supervisors
File type(s)

Across team sports, it is critically important to appropriately define, evaluate and then aptly describe individual and team performance. This is of particular significance when we consider that performance models govern the direction of player preparation (short term) and development (long term) frameworks. Within the context of rugby league, this has traditionally been undertaken through hierarchical and linear processes. Such approaches have resulted in research and performance analysis techniques which aim to support these operational outcomes. Yet, these methods may deliver limited application on how or why match-play unfolds and therefore might be sub-optimal in providing insights to truly support coaches. In this paper, we propose the conceptualisation of rugby league performance through the lens of ecological dynamics, which may offer a different view to this traditional approach. We propose that this approach eliminates the silos of disciplinary information (e.g. technical, physical and medical) that may currently exist, allowing for a holistic approach to performance, preparation and development. Specifically, we consider that through the implementation of this ecological approach, all performance coaches (technical, physical and medical) may (co-)design learning environments that more collaboratively develop players for rugby league match-play. As a result, we put forward a new rugby league performance model from which preparation and development programs can be anchored toward. We conclude the paper by offering practical examples where these concepts are contextualised within the landscape familiar to practitioners working within rugby league.

Journal Title

Sports Medicine - Open

Conference Title
Book Title


Thesis Type
Degree Program
Publisher link
Patent number
Grant identifier(s)
Rights Statement
Rights Statement

© The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

Item Access Status
Access the data
Related item(s)

Sports medicine

Science & Technology

Life Sciences & Biomedicine

Sport Sciences

Performance analysis

Team sports

Persistent link to this record

Scott, TJ; Sanctuary, CE; Tredrea, MS; Gray, AJ, Conceptualising Rugby League Performance Within an Ecological Dynamics Framework: Providing Direction for Player Preparation and Development, Sports Medicine - Open, 2021, 7, pp. 87