In the realm of professional sport, performance is key.

But before athletes put up big performances on the field, a foundation is often laid in the gym and on the training grounds.

College recruiters in the United States place a heavy emphasis on an athlete's ability to perform well, with measurements of vertical leaps, broad jumps and speed over 40 yards just the tip of the iceberg.

It is a world that is fairly unknown to Australian sport.


While Australian sports teams definitely conduct these types of tests with their athletes, you rarely read about it.

An investigation carried out by found the best performing players from all 16 NRL clubs. Here is what they found:

New Zealand Warriors

Warriors head of athletic performance, Balin Cupples, provided the following information on a few players from pre-season testing.

Thomas Leuluai is the strongest back at the club, bench pressing twice his body weight.

Leuluai tips the scales at 86 kilos which gives him a bench press of 172 kilos.

In the forwards, Jacob Lillyman box squats 2.4 times his body weight. Lillyman weighs in at 106kgs.

In terms of conditioning, winger Jonathan Wright tops the outside backs. He completed their 1.2 kilometre shuttle run in four minutes and 30 seconds.


Brisbane Broncos

The Broncos test their players using a league-specific beep test of sorts called anaerobic intermittent testing.

Darius Boyd and Andrew McCullough are top performers in this.

Broncos performance director Jeremy Hickmans said the highest result he has ever seen is an athlete reaching level 21, a record shared by Boyd and McCullough.

"The test we do is fairly specific to the sport," Hickmans told

"These two have been pushing each other all year so it's no surprise they produce the performances they do on the field each week."

Darius Boyd. Photo / Getty Images
Darius Boyd. Photo / Getty Images

Canterbury Bulldogs

In the gym, big Bulldogs prop Tim Browne is top of the class.

Browne can do a lat pull down at 160kg for three reps and a seated row of 136kg.

"We have a new trainer (this year in) Donny Singe and (when) Harry Harris (was here, he) did a lot of pulls too," Browne said.

"I don't mind a chin up or a pull-down or bench pull. It's all pull exercise which is a bit different."

Cronulla Sharks

The Cronulla Sharks didn't disclose any information but it is understood club captain Paul Gallen is the heavy lifter in the weights room.

Gallen regularly deadlifts 200kg but set a personal best of 230kg in the offseason.

He also squats 200kg.

"There's a couple," Wade Graham said of best performers in the weights room.

"Matt Prior is strong at everything. [Jayson] Bukuya has a really big squat and Gal loves everything. There's a lot of competition in the gym."

Gold Coast Titans

During pre-season, the spotlight was on forward David Hala in the weights room.

The former Bronco weighs in at 120kg and regularly bench presses 200 kilos.

Manly Sea Eagles

Kiwis forward Martin Taupau, owner of arguably the biggest shoulders in the game. Photo / Getty Images
Kiwis forward Martin Taupau, owner of arguably the biggest shoulders in the game. Photo / Getty Images

It should come as no surprise, Kiwis star Martin Taupau is the biggest lifter at the club.

Taupau easily performs 260kg deadlifts during the season, and can get up to 310kg in the offseason.

These huge numbers shouldn't shock anyone who has seen Taupau in the sheds before a game, as he keeps a pair of 20kg dumbbells handy to warm his shoulders up pre-match.

Canberra Raiders

When it comes to speed, New Zealander Jordan Rapana is the fastest over 10 metres.

The Raiders only test speed over short distances with an emphasis on speed off the mark and acceleration.

Rapana clocked in at 1.55 seconds, followed closely by Jack Wighton and Blake Austin at 1.59 and 1.6 seconds respectively.

In the weights room Paul Vaughan is king of the club, boasting a one rep max power clean of 135kg and a back squat of 220 kilos.

Head of physical performance Nigel Ashley-Jones told that the Raiders cycle their training in a bid to keep strength throughout the season.

"We make every day a test day and don't stop to test," he said.

"You're pretty much under the pump throughout every session. We try and keep the blokes at the levels they finished the pre-season on throughout the season, which is a massive challenge but that's the way it is."

Melbourne Storm

Marika Koroibete's elite speed makes him tough to catch. Photo / Getty Images
Marika Koroibete's elite speed makes him tough to catch. Photo / Getty Images

The title of Melbourne's fastest over 40 metres goes to flying Fijian winger Marika Koroibete, but the man who comes in second may surprise you.

32-year-old playmaker Cooper Cronk is the second fastest in the team.

The Storm did not disclose any details around times recorded.

"We have a good trainer," said Koroibete. "He gives us a good technique so I'm faster. I worked on my speed more and got a bit extra on it."

Newcastle Knights

Newcastle always starts the preseason with a classic beep test.

This year outside back Jake Mamo had the best result at 14.7 (Level 14, Shuttle 7).

Head of physical development Colin Sanctuary said: "A high level of aerobic ability is key for a player like Jake Mamo, who plays a mixture of positions in the outside backs, particularly, for example, when he is at fullback."

North Queensland Cowboys

North Queensland did not disclose any specific details but divulged that wing Tatau Moga tops the team in weighted chin-ups, while Ray Thompson and Kyle Laybutt are among the strongest pound-for-pound athletes.

Thompson and Josh Chudleigh lead the way on aerobic fitness, and Johnathan Thurston and Rory Kostjasyn have the lowest skinfolds.

Penrith Panthers

Wing Josh Mansour is the best Panther when is comes to deadlifts.

The NSW representative can do 270 kilos for one rep.

"He's totally anaerobic - fast twitch muscle fibres," Penrith strenght and conditioning coach David Boyle said.

"We revert back to 1 RM's every week. He stays above 85 per cent all the time. We work it out in terms of the reps."

"That's the biggest dead lift in the club. That's pure strength. Absolute strength."

Sydney Roosters

103kg centre-turned-fullback Blake Ferguson tops the club for speed over 40 metres, coming in at a time of 4.82 seconds.

Parramatta Eels

Kieran Foran is one of the NRL's strongest players pound-for-pound. Photo / Getty Images
Kieran Foran is one of the NRL's strongest players pound-for-pound. Photo / Getty Images

Before he was granted a release from the club, Kieran Foran was known as one of the strongest Eels pound-for-pound.

Before the 90kg playmaker went down with a season ending shoulder injury, he could bench press almost double his body weight.

South Sydney Rabbitohs

The Rabbitohs did not provide any information.

St. George Illawarra Dragons

This season, young centre Euan Aitken and hooker Mitch Rein have been standouts in the Yo-Yo test.

The Yo-Yo is similar to the beep test but carries a different structure and is a good way for the Dragons to measure the fitness levels of their players.

To date, both players have scored in the 20s.

Wests Tigers

Tigers fullback and NSW representative James Tedesco is thought as one of the fastest in the game over 40 metres.

A trainer, who has worked with Tedesco at rep level but asked not be identified, told that the 23-year-old can run 40 metres in 4.8 seconds.