Holsworth Research Initiative

Our research focusses on exercise, physical activity and rehabilitation.

Where are they now? Blog series

The HRI Director and Stream Leaders have had the privilege of supervising a number of higher degree by research students since the Holsworth Research Initiative began in 2019. These students now work across a broad range of industries including academia, applied sports science and clinical practice.

In this new series, we will update our subscribers on where our past HDR students are now and how their research degree with the La Trobe Health School and the Holsworth Research Initiative helped shape their career.

Part 8: Mr Jake Jennings, Sport Scientist, Brisbane Broncos NRL team

Mr Jennings with the Bendigo Pioneers Coach and players in 2020 upon his announcement as Performance Manager

Part Eight of our Where Are They Now blog series features Jake Jennings, a PhD candidate with the HRI and a Sport Scientist with the Brisbane Broncos NRL team. Mr Jennings is currently in the final stages of his PhD with a likely submission date early in 2023. Jake’s supervisory team consists of HRI Director Professor Michael Kingsley, HRI Stream Leader Dr Daniel Wundersitz, HRI Research Coordinator Dr Courtney Sullivan and Lecturer at La Trobe University, Dr Stephen Cousins. This PhD was made possible due to an industry scholarship involving both AFL Victoria and the Bendigo Pioneers. An industry PhD connects industry partners to La Trobe’s world-leading research capabilities, while addressing a problem that is of direct relevance to the organisation. This saw Mr Jennings embedded within the Bendigo Pioneers NAB League football team where he provided high-performance services to the team while also collecting data for each study within his thesis.

Draft success in junior Australian Rules Football

Mr Jennings and his supervisory team are investigating match-play demands, and characteristics associated with draft success in male elite-junior Australian Rules football players. Although his thesis has not yet been submitted for review, an original study from his thesis has been published in a peer-reviewed journal with a further three papers currently under review.

Physical testing characteristics better explain draft outcome than in-game movement profile in junior elite Australian rules football players

A dream to work in elite sport

In the final year of his PhD and at the end of 2021, Mr Jennings was offered the full-time role of Sport Scientist at the Brisbane Broncos NRL team which required him to relocate to Brisbane. Additionally, Mr Jennings made the decision to convert his PhD to part-time to enable sufficient time to dedicate to his role in elite sport. Throughout this year, Mr Jennings has continued to refine his thesis and submit completed manuscripts to peer-reviewed journals with the aim of thesis submission in the first quarter of the new year. In regards to his current role, Mr Jennings reports utilising many of the skills that he has developed throughout his PhD studies in the everyday operations of the Sport Science department. When asked about his career aspirations, Mr Jennings stated that he hoped to continue his journey in professional sport with a view to high-performance management.

And that’s a wrap! After 8 weeks we have finally come to the end of our Where Are They Now mini-blog series. Missed our previous posts in this series? Read them at the HRI blog using the links below and while you’re there, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter so you can stay informed of all the latest HRI news.

Bendigo local GP Dr Stephen Bovalino

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Mid-Sweden University Dr Craig Staunton

Allied Health Education & Research Manager at Goulburn Valley Health, Dr Emma Macdonald

Allied Health Research and Knowledge Translation Lead, Bendigo Health, Dr Stephen Barrett

High Performance Manager at Old Scotch Football Club, Dr Jodie Palmer

Teaching-Focused Lecturer at La Trobe University, Dr Paul Xanthos

Sport and Exercise Medicine Registrar, Dr Samantha May