The influence of contextual factors on running performance in female Australian Football match-play

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Given the recent growth of the professional status among multiple female football codes, the aim of this study is to investigate the effects of contextual factors on activity profiles and pacing strategies in female Australian football players. Thirty-five female Australian football players participated in this study. Global positioning system analysis was completed over one competitive season. Matches were separated into eight 10-minute periods. Greater distances were covered during the first half irrespective of playing position (ES = 0.39-0.50, Likelihood ≥90%). Throughout a number of periods half-backs (defensive players) covered greater distances during losses (ES ≥0.74, Likelihood ≥92%) and against Top 3 opponents (ES ≥1.0, Likelihood ≥ 97%). Midfielders and half-backs covered greater distances (ES ≥ 0.49, Likelihood ≥89%) in the final match period in winning compared with losing matches. A reduction in player work-rate is evident during the second half of matches. The influence of contextual factors varied across positional groups. However, it is clear coaches could use player rotation both early in the match in an attempt to delay the effect of fatigue and more frequently during the second half to increase running intensity.

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