Western Bulldogs Football Club

Image VU massage students treat players
VU massage students treat players
Image 70 Bulldog players attended VU
70 Bulldog players attended VU
Image All-female VU sport-science team
All-female VU sport-science team
Image >50 Bulldogs staff are VU alumni
>50 Bulldogs staff are VU alumni
Image 100 student placements every year
100 student placements every year

Our unique association with the Western Bulldogs Football Club began in the 1980s. It has grown to include all four teams (AFL, AFLW, VFL and VFLW), and our innovative shared campus at VU Whitten Oval.

As the partnership continues to grow, so do the opportunities for our students and researchers. Each year, the Western Bulldogs host around 100 student placements through the Club and the Community Foundation. Our joint-funded sports-science team supervises students undertaking research in sport science, data analytics, strength and conditioning, and psychology.

Due to the VU Block Model®, VU has also become the preferred place for Bulldogs players to study. The learning model enables them to train, play and complete their studies without missing too many subjects during the season. Currently there are 21 Bulldogs players (across all teams) enrolled at VU.


Workplace & clinical learning for VU students

The Bulldogs accept sport science and exercise physiology cadets exclusively from VU. Our College of Sport, Health and Engineering offers up to three Western Bulldogs student cadetships annually.

Each year, VU students have the opportunity to complete workplace learning with the Bulldogs in areas including: administration, biomechanics, business, community development, event management, exercise physiology, exercise rehabilitation, hospitality, marketing, psychology, remedial massage and tourism.

Professional development for Bulldogs' players & staff

Many current and former Bulldogs' players and staff are studying at Victoria University or are VU Alumni. Through our Elite Athlete Program, Bulldogs players are encouraged and supported to prepare for a career after football.

Our joint Professional Development Support Program helps Western Bulldogs’ staff continue their professional development through further study. Through this program, VU makes a contribution to the fees of a small number of staff selected for the program each year.


VU’s sports science researchers work side-by-side with the Bulldogs' coaching, medical and performance teams in a structured research program.

Collaborative research topics have included:

  • football performance
  • active living
  • community development
  • sport management.

Joint projects give our researchers the opportunity to work with an elite sports team and contribute to real-world advances in the sports industry. They also offer the Bulldogs access to sport science expertise to help them improve their on-field performance and to develop their skills and fitness in our world-class sports facilities.

Future plans include a number of evaluation and research projects for the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation evaluating program impact and opportunities for further improvements.

Joint community programs

VU and the Bulldogs have a shared commitment to the development of the western region through community-building programs. Some of our current community programs include:

  • Bulldogs Friendly Schools (BFS) program
    VU pre-service teachers help to facilitate the BFS ‘Footy in Schools’ program in western Melbourne primary schools. Students gain leadership and teamwork skills that can be applied to all aspects of their lives. Our pre-service teachers gain essential 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.
  • Daughters of the West Women’s Health Program
    VU is collaborating on the newly developed program is designed to improve the lives for all women aged 18 and over who are living, working and recreating in Victoria’s West.
  • Ready Settle Go
    The Ready SETTLE Go program offers a range of community focused health education, leadership, youth and employability programs in the light of meaningful partnerships and referral pathways with organisations and services in the west. VU’s community development students will be supporting this program in 2018 and beyond.