Port Adelaide has appointed the AFL’s first full-time GPS analyst to its recruiting division, as the club strives to maintain its standing as footy’s fittest club.
In a move that will put the Power on the cutting edge of player analysis, Port has poached the head of sports science at Catapult, Michael Regan, to advance its evaluation of potential recruits and draftees.
All clubs use Catapult’s GPS-tracking devices to monitor players and have access to the data generated by selected under-18 and state league players.
But the Power is believed to be the first AFL club to create a full-time position in its recruiting department that is solely committed to GPS tracking.
Regan, 30, has worked closely with some of the biggest sporting superstars in the United States, helping setup Catapult’s systems across the NFL, NBA and at more than 80 universities.
The devices provide comprehensive data relating to players’ physiological performance, including factors such as fatigue, speed, acceleration, force and distance.
Regan’s appointment will add another layer of scrutiny to the Power’s recruiting team and, in particular, will help assess players’ suitability to Port’s hard-running game.
The Power are widely-regarded as the fittest and strongest-finishing team in the AFL and are currently in Dubai embarking on a gruelling heat-training camp.
List manager Jason Cripps said clubs needed to assess more data on potential players.
“With the amount of data now available to all clubs, whether it be GPS or Champion Data statistics, we think you need to be across all of that information,” Cripps told the Herald Sun.
“That’s where the recruiting and list management side of things has gone with free agency and trade and draft. You’ve got a lot more data.
“All clubs get access to the Catapult site, I guess it’s just how each club analyses it and interprets it that would vary.”
Port Adelaide’s highly respected head of high performance, Darren Burgess, is already considered a leader of GPS analysis and functional sports science in the AFL.
Regan will begin work at Alberton in February, where he will serve Cripps and Burgess.