The current study aimed to determine whether previously identified candidate polymorphisms were associated with match performance in sub-elite Australian Rules Football (ARF) players. The genotypes of thirty players were analysed along with 3x1-kilometre time trial results, ARF-specific skill assessments (handball and kicking), and match performance (direct game involvements) per minute (DGIs/min) to investigate if there was a relationship between any of the variables. Results support previous findings that aerobic time trials are a significant predictor of DGIs/min in sub-elite ARF players. Significant associations were found for genotypes ADRB2 CC (p = .001), PPARGC1A AA (p = .001), PPARGC1A AG (p < .001), ACE ID (p < .001), COMT AA (p = .003), BDNF AG (p = .008), ADRB1 CC (p = .018) and ADRB3 CC (p = .010) and the 3x1-kilometre time trials (p < .001). In the current study, a variant in the DRD2 gene was a strong predictor of handball possessions during a match. Significance was seen for variants in the BDNF and COMTgenes when the kicking and handball skill test results were combined and used in a linear mixed model to predict DGIs/min, suggesting a potential relationship with motor learning. The confirmation of genetic predictors of player performance in a team sport, such as ARF, suggests a portion of the physiological mechanisms of skill and ARF-specific talent may be explained by the expression of a specific number of genes.


ACE, ACTN3, time trial, game involvements, Australian rules football

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