The Newcastle Knights were essentially suffering throughout two rough National Rugby League (NRL) seasons.
Ownership drama, missing salaries, ceaseless change of managerial personnel and injuries had took their cumulative toll on the players.
However, things changed as new manager Nathan Brown took charge, and he turned to the University of Newcastle for the latest technology in player management.
He was especially interested in technology that monitors player recovery, stress and fatigue levels.
Jace Delaney, the club’s head of the sport science department now works with the university to administer sleep and saliva testing throughout the pre-season and 2016 using a relatively new technology that doesn’t take weeks to process.
A relatively new form of research, it was believed that the tests could indicate fatigue, muscle damage and hydration status.
Players are swabbed for saliva and assessed instantly, so the coaching staff can adjust training or recovery based on same-day results.
“We want to stay on the cutting edge of sports science, but we understand that this is only one component of an overall elite medical and performance team,” Delaney said.
Indeed, saliva testing in elite sport is quite popular and is increasing now.