At a time when Australian sports fans were divided by football codes and colours, Grand Final weekend 2012 came wrought with similarities that rivalled only the novelty of Sydney taking the AFL flag and Melbourne claiming the NRL premiership.

Amid the biting of medals and ears, the re-emergence of the beard, the 10-point margin and the fact the minor premiers got toppled on the final stage, the newest AFL and NRL champions also had one other valuable similarity – the use of Catapult technology.

Catapult, a technology-first company that designs and manufactures equipment for the training and monitoring of elite athletes, have provided the Sydney Swans (five seasons) and the Melbourne Storm (two seasons) with the unique ability to understand what stressors today’s game puts on world-class athletes by carefully tailoring training programs to condition the athletes to meet these rigorous demands.

Working with Catapult’s own Sprint software, OptimEye can be used in official AFL and NRL games as well as many competitions and leagues around the world.

With both football codes being physical sports with heavy focus on running and tackling, the fitness analysis component of OptimEye measures sprints, accelerations and distance, while at the same time counting and characterising tackle events. Scientifically unique in its ability to quantify both running and tackling, OptimEye uses sophisticated pattern recognition to identify a tackle and then provide the relevant metrics (intensity, time, pitch location), while also measuring distance covered, metres per minute, repeat high intensity effort bouts, and number of accelerations. Combined with measuring physiological parameters like heart rate and you can scientifically measure every moment from Lewis Jetta out-sprinting Cyril Rioli on the wing, to Jaiman Lowe breaking through a tackle down the middle.

By measuring the ratio of running and non-running portions of an athlete’s workload, a coach (John Longmire) can better understand why his utility (Adam Goodes) is working harder than many midfielders, and therefore produce a personalised training program which will ensure the Brownlow medalist performs at his peak performance.

In addition to the training and competition benefits of dealing with a world leader in wearable athlete tracking technology, Catapult has also played a vital role in the rehabilitation of players across both codes. Using OptimEye to monitor velocity, heart rate, distance, acceleration and impact loading, training staff can set alarms personalised for each player and the Sprint software will alert you if a player is exceeding allowable thresholds – a big reason Billy Slater was able to recover from ligament damage to his left knee suffered during the State of Origin series.

Catapult would like to congratulate the Sydney Swans and Melbourne Storm on their premierships and look forward to a continued successful relationship in seasons to come!


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