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VU supports tomorrow’s champions, today

On Monday 4 December, Victoria University will put a group of young AFL hopefuls through their paces for the AFL Academies Top 30 Combine Testing.

Selected from the AFL Academies, the group of 30 up and coming male athletes (from around Australia) will eventually be part of the 2018 draft where they will have the opportunity to play in the big league.

The AFL Academies Top 30  players will come to Victoria University’s Footscray Park Campus to assess their Physical (Athlete Ability Assessment), Combine test (VJ; Agility; 20m Sprint; Yo-YoIR2), Decision-making (Video-based Test), Technical (Kicking Drill and Small-Sided Game) and Biomechanical potential.

On hand will be Victoria University’s Dr Damian Farrow from VU’s Institute of Sport Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL.) Dr Farrow specialises in skill acquisition data, and is a joint appointment with the Australian Institute of Sport and heads the Sport Science research with the Western Bulldogs.

With the help of VU’s world-class sport research facilities, the athlete data gathered on the day will form part of an AFL research study to define a ‘best practice’ athlete development model underpinned by a solid empirical base to guide the continued evolution of the AFL Talent Pathway.

Using retrospective and prospective data from a range of player cohorts, a benchmarking exercise will be conducted to determine relative performance levels at distinct developmental time points.

Consequently, the project requires a multi-disciplinary, mixed methods approach in order to track and evaluate the socio-cultural influences, skill, psychological and physical development of the AFL talent pathway from U12 through to senior representation in the AFL competition. A number of sub-questions will drive progress to this overall aim and include:

  • Do elite junior players differ in the type and amount of sport and related activity undertaken throughout key developmental phases of their career, compared to sub-elite athletes
  • Are different performance components (i.e., skill, psychology, physical performance) more important to development and performance at distinct developmental milestones?
  • At what age/developmental stage can key performance components be identified that discriminate between elite and sub-elite athletes?
  • Is the current testing battery (Academy, Draft Camp, Club protocols) for capturing Australian football talent in each of the key performance components sufficiently sensitive and predictive of later success/performance?

Victoria University continues to build its reputation as a global leader in sport by providing the most comprehensive range of sport and exercise science facilities in the southern hemisphere.

By working closely with the AFL’s developing elite talent and with the Western Bulldogs on and off the field, VU plays a vital role in growing the country’s truly great researchers, practitioners and educators in the sport and exercise science fields.

This is a unique opportunity to witness a remarkable group of athletes in action.

To arrange an interview/photography/sports footage with Dr Damien Farrow and athletes, please contact:

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