Western Bulldogs

VU Chancellor George Pappas at VU Whitten Oval

VU Chancellor Mr George Pappas.

The association between Victoria University (VU) and the Western Bulldogs Football Club began during the 1980s. It is a unique partnership among Australian universities and sporting clubs and now a multi-faceted relationship including:

  • joint research and staff appointments
  • work placements for students
  • collaborative education programs
  • joint community activities.

Thanks to our ongoing partnership with the Western Bulldogs, all VU staff and students can claim an exclusive free Western Bulldogs membership each AFL Premiership Season.

On this page

Premier VFL partners

In 2014, VU became the major sponsor of the Western Bulldogs VFL team, Footscray Bulldogs thus becoming a premier partner of the Western Bulldogs with naming rights to Victoria University Whitten Oval. The oval is a legendary location in the west of Melbourne which has virtually become another VU campus.

This development builds on our reputation as Australia’s leading sports university, a leader in sport science research, and an iconic institution of Melbourne’s west.

Training and research

Bulldogs training at VU

Mat Inness, Bulldogs strength and conditioning coach, training in our muscle function lab.

VU’s internationally renowned sport scientists work side by side with the Bulldogs' coaching, medical and performance teams to develop players’ skills and fitness in a structured research program.

The partnership also gives the Bulldogs a unique opportunity to tap into world class sports science and elite sport best practice at home in the west to give them a winning edge. This includes their use of our cutting-edge sports science, training, research and world-class facilities.

Our sports science expertise will further help to develop the young VFL players in an ethical, moral and responsible manner.

VU research staff  have been appointed to work specifically on Bulldogs research projects encompassing the areas of football performance, sport, active living and community development and sport management.  Their research in human movement and sport science benefits from access to professional athletes and is rated well above world standard by the Australian Research Council.

Workplace learning

VU massage student at Whitten Oval

Massage student works on players at VU Whitten Oval.

As a leading Australian sport university, VU works closely with elite sporting organisations including the Bulldogs to deliver industry focused education.

Students have the opportunity to take up placements with the Bulldogs in areas including biomechanics, exercise physiology, remedial massage and exercise rehabilitation, making VU sport graduates among the most in demand across the industry.


Our College of Sport and Exercise Science and The Western Bulldogs currently offer up to three cadetships each year in the area of sport science and exercise physiology . The Bulldogs accept cadets exclusively from VU, meaning that our graduates are a first choice for future employment and have the hands-on skills to pursue a successful career in the elite sports industry.


Students of massage therapy and myotherapy gain hands-on experience treating players and members of the public at a student-run, public access clinic located at Victoria University Whitten Oval.

Students in other disciplines, such as business, administration, event management, marketing, tourism and hospitality also have the opportunity for work placements at the Bulldogs.

Find out more about sport and exercise science sport and exercise science placements available to our students.

Community programs

Bulldogs Friendly Schools Program

Bulldogs Friendly Schools program.

Both VU and the Bulldogs have a shared commitment to the development of the western region through collaborative community building programs.

Bulldogs Friendly Schools (BFS) program

VU pre-service teachers help to facilitate the BFS ‘Footy in Schools’ program in over 40 primary schools in the west. Primary students gain leadership and teamwork skills on the field they can apply to all aspects of their lives. At the same time, pre-service teachers benefit from valuable communication, leadership and coaching experience.

Sons of the West Men’s Health Program

VU collaborates with the Western Bulldogs’ Sons of the West Men’s Health Program. The Program is designed to improve the health of men aged 18 years and over in the west of Melbourne and is the first program of its kind in Australia.

The Whitten Project

A regional collaboration across organisations in Melbourne’s west, The Whitten Project aims to develop civic leadership and young leaders’ confidence to contribute to their community and local council.

VU Achievement Scholarships

The Bulldogs were among the first supporters of the VU Achievement Scholarships and donate $1 for every club member towards the scholarships.

Western Bulldogs PhD collaborations

Seven current VU PhD students are conducting joint research projects with the Western Bulldogs. Areas of investigation include injury monitoring, skill acquisition, recruitment, physical training and physiology.

VU, in collaboration with the Western Bulldogs, has also announced two PhD scholarships  offered for the first time in 2015. 

Each scholarship project must be dedicated to one of the following topics:

  • "sleep, training and recovery"
  • "the physiology of heat training"
  • "development of athlete tracking and monitoring tools."

Bulldogs study support & professional development

Mitch Wallis and Easton Wood

Bulldogs player and VU student, Mitch Wallis studies with a teammate.

The Bulldogs encourage their players to be well-rounded individuals, prepared for a career after football. VU’s Elite Athlete program helps support players balance university with training and competition demands by offering flexible study options and career development support

The Western Bulldogs and Victoria University Professional Development Support Program helps staff of the Western Bulldogs continue their professional development through further study. Under the scheme, Victoria University makes a contribution to the fees of a small number of Bulldogs staff selected for the program each year.

Many current and former Bulldogs players and staff are studying at Victoria University or are VU Alumni.

Contact us

To find out more about the partnership contact Rachelle Bramley at rachelle.bramley@vu.edu.au.
Or visit the Western Bulldogs for more information about the club.