Sports Science & Sports Medicine

Warren McDonald
Warren has been involved with professional rugby since 1997. He was senior team doctor for the ACT Brumbies from 1999 until 2009 and the Wallabies from 2008 until 2013. He attended the Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand as Wallabies team doctor. He was the City Medical Officer for Canberra for Rugby World Cup 2003. He has been Chief Medical Officer of the Australian Rugby Union since 2011. He is a World Rugby Senior Medical Educator. He was chair of the SANZAR medical commission in 2014, and chair of the FORU Sports Science Sports Medicine Advisory Group in 2014 and 2015.

Warren previously worked at the Australian Institute of Sport from 1990 until 2000, and attended two Olympic Games in 1996 (Atlanta) and 2000 (Sydney) as a doctor with the Australian Olympic Team. He has worked and toured with numerous representative sporting teams including water polo, basketball and swimming and has been match day doctor for international cricket matches in Canberra.

Warren runs a private sports medicine practice in Canberra and has lectured to Sports Studies students at the University of Canberra since the early 1990’s and holds the position of adjunct Associate Professor in Sports Medicine at the university. He is also a director of the ACT Physical Activity Foundation whose purpose is to encourage physical activity, particularly in children.Sports Science & Sports Medicine

Ken Hodge
Ken is a Professor in sport and exercise psychology at the School of Physical Education, Sport & Exercise Sciences University of Otago, New Zealand (NZ). He joined the School in 1988, after completing his PhD at the University of Illinois (USA). His research focuses primarily on the psycho-social effects of participation in sport; but he also has a focus on motivational issues in elite sport. In particular, he has investigated issues such as motivational orientations in sport, motivational climate in elite sport, choking and coping in elite sport, athlete burnout and athlete engagement, life skill development through sport, prosocial and antisocial behaviour in sport, and effectiveness of Sport Psychology Consultants.

Ken recently served as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology (USA) and is a member of the Editorial Boards for Psychology of Sport & Exercise (Europe), The Sport Psychologist (USA), and Sport, Exercise, & Performance Psychology (USA). In addition, he regularly contributes as a reviewer for international journals such as the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology (USA), Journal of Sports Sciences (UK), and Motivation & Emotion (USA).

In addition, Ken has extensive experience working with elite NZ athletes as a Mental Skills Trainer (e.g., 1990, 1994, 1998 Commonwealth Games, 1992 Summer Olympics; 2006 Winter Olympics; NZ Colts Rugby, 2002-2005; Highlanders Super 14 Rugby Team, 2010; Silver Ferns Netball, 2006-2007; NZ Academy of Sport athletes, 2002-2010; IRB Sevens Referees, 2014). Ken is a former age-group (Under 21yrs) rugby coach for the Otago Rugby Union; and he currently serves as a board member for the Highlanders Super rugby franchise.

Matthew Blair
Matthew began his career in the professional rugby environment in 1996 working with the Highlanders and Otago NPC rugby teams. Since then he has been involved with the NZ Colts sides at two Junior World Cups and Tonga at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Currently he works as a consultant for World Rugby assisting Pacific Island Rugby 7s and 15s players’ physical development as well as extensive involvement with both 7s and 15s referees. Matt has qualifications in nutrition and massage and combines these with work as a conditioning coach. Matt also has a part time position at Otago Polytechnic as a senior lecturer in physical conditioning, research and nutrition.

William Koong

William Koong is the Manager Sports Medicine and Sciences with the Fiji Rugby Union. He is a graduate of the Fiji School of Medicine in Physiotherapy and is currently the President of the Fiji Physiotherapy Association. He is also a Board Member of the Fiji Allied Health Society, and a member of the FORU Advisory Board and a part of the IRB 7s working group. William has a keen interest in developing Sports Sciences and Medicine in Fiji and the Pacific. He is Fiji Rugby’s senior physiotherapist and has on numerous occasions over the past decade toured, and continues to tour, with the Flying Fijians and the national Fiji 7s team.

Hayden Croft
Lecturer, Otago Institute of Sport and Adventure, Otago Polytechnic. Hayden’s expertise lie in a variety of areas all focused on advancing rugby coaching through the use of innovative technology, this has included work with the All Blacks, Highlanders, Otago Rugby and Southern Steel Netball. He began his research in sports biomechanics (University of Otago) and then moved into more applied uses of video technology, assessment of perceptual skills with video and player mounted cameras. In recent years his research and teaching has focused on performance analysis with specific emphasis on advanced data analytics, such as neural networks and trend analysis.

Winner of the Innovation in Sport category at the 2015 Otago Sports Awards Hayden has championed the use of head and body mounted cameras to gain first person perspective of player’s responses while training. A feature publication in the academic journal Sport Technology (Volume 6, Issue 2, 2013) and conference papers at APCST13 (Hong Kong) and ISPAS14 (Croatia) have been the latest additions to this body of work. He has also been an invited speaker as the Malaysian National Institute of Sport (ISN) and has published research with their staff.
Hayden currently leads performance analysis contracts with the Southern Steel netball team (2012-present) and the Otago ITM Cup rugby team (2013-present). The current focus in these environments is simplifying video feedback to players and helping the coaches with new methods of opposition analysis, specifically neural network analysis.

In 2015 he will be working on his PhD (Performance Analysis) at AUT, but he will also be leading a new distance taught Graduate Diploma in Performance and Movement Analysis at Otago Polytechnic.

Josh Blackie

Josh is the Member Services Manager for the International Rugby Players’ Association (IRPA). IRPA works alongside international, national and competition governing bodies to ensure there is player representation and involvement in the key decision making processes of the game. Josh works primarily with the domestic player associations from the elite international teams and also with the 60 player representatives from every elite level international team in men’s, women’s and Sevens rugby.

In his role Josh’s key focus areas include; ensuring there are fair, reasonable and safe work environments for all elite players; prioritising player welfare and promoting positive mental health and wellness across the game; advocating for quality governance and management from the games decision makers; ensuring effective personal development programmes and support for professional players, and seeking best practice evidence based medicine and care for the athletes. As part of Josh’s role he manages the Pacific Island Players Association (PIPA) which is the collective representative body of Fijian, Samoan and Tongan elite players.

Gary Slater
Gary is a sports performance focused dietitian and sports physiologist who has been working in elite sport since 1996. He has a passion for helping athletes achieve their sporting ambitions, including those aspiring for Commonwealth & Olympic Games success. Gary currently splits his time between coordinating a Master’s Degree in Sports Nutrition at the University of the Sunshine Coast and his role as National Performance Nutrition Coordinator for the Australian Rugby Union. When he’s not surfing or undertaking case studies on himself in the gym, Gary also consults to professional teams, including the QLD Reds, and an array of individual elite & recreational athletes, focusing on performance driven nutrition strategies that get results. Gary’s professional interests relate primarily to enhancing sports performance, helping athletes achieve their sporting dreams. Gary is particularly passionate about factors influencing muscle protein metabolism and muscle hypertrophy/atrophy, nutritional recovery strategies, ergogenic aids and the influence of body composition on sports performance. Gary’s focus remains with using the latest scientific information to help athletes achieve their best. He delivers this through a number of innovative mediums to ensure the athletes he works with can focus on what works, leaving the hype associated with the latest dietary fad for others to worry about.