This study demonstrates that senior Australian Football players are heavier and possess superior strength characteristics without any meaningful difference in aerobic capacities when compared to under 18 players.

The aim of this study was to compare the anthropometric and physical characteristics of state based junior and senior Australian Football (AF) players. Thirty-One League (age 23.7 ± 2.6 years), 19 Development League (DL) (age 20.5 ± 1.9 years), and 34 Under 18 (U18) players (age 17.4 ± 0.7 years) were recruited from a single AF club. Assessments included height and mass, upper body (bench press and weighted pull-up) and lower body (squat) three repetition max strength, lower body power (vertical jump) and 3 x 1-kilometre time trial. Multivariate analysis with Bonferroni post hoc tests were used to examine the differences between grades and position. Cohen’s d statistic was used to assess the magnitude of difference. Significant age and body mass differences were evident between all three grades (p<0.01) and large to moderate differences were evident between League and U18 players in the absolute and relative bench press and back squat characteristics. No significant difference between time trial performance was evident between grades. The results demonstrate a particular need to ensure programs develop both absolute and relative strength in younger players to prepare them to compete safely and successfully in senior competitions.


Australian football, strength, physical capacity, athlete development

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