The Influence of Match Phase and Field Position on Collective Team Behaviour in Australian Rules Football


This study investigated the influence of match phase and field position on collective team behaviour in Australian Rules football (AF). Data from professional male athletes (years 24.4 ± 3.7; cm 185.9 ± 7.1; kg 85.4 ± 7.1), were collected via 10 Hz global positioning system (GPS) during a competitive AFL match. Five spatiotemporal metrics (x-axis centroid, y–axis centroid, length, width, and surface area), occupancy maps, and Shannon Entropy (ShannEn) were analysed by match phase (offensive, defensive, and contested) and field position (defensive 50, defensive midfield, forward midfield, and forward 50). A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) revealed that field position had a greater influence on the x-axis centroid comparative to match phase. Conversely, match phase had a greater influence on length, width, and surface area comparative to field position. Occupancy maps revealed that players repositioned behind centre when the ball was in their defensive half and moved forward of centre when the ball was in their forward half. Shannon Entropy revealed that player movement was more variable during offence and defence (ShannEn = 0.82–0.93) compared to contest (ShannEn = 0.68–0.79). Spatiotemporal metrics, occupancy maps, and Shannon Entropy may assist in understanding the game style of AF teams.

In Journal of Sport Sciences.