Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga is ensuring his side is at the cutting edge of sports science.
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga is ensuring his side is at the cutting edge of sports science.

Kangaroos turn to gut instinct

THE Kangaroos are hoping to get a "gut feel" ahead of their two Tests with the players undergoing gut testing which officials hope will unlock better performances.

Thirty Kangaroos and Jillaroos players had their stools tested for gut bacteria before coming into camp with the Australian team aligning with Brisbane-based Microba.

The players were told about their individual findings and what needs to be done to have better gut health - largely by dietary changes.

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The Kangaroos have led cutting-edge developments in recent years including "chill pills" to track core body temperature and meeting with a sleep doctor to help with sleep patterns.

The latest idea comes from Australia's elite performance manager Troy Thomson.

"I did a research and development tour to America and I was talking to some people over there about the relationship between gut and mental health and performance," Thomson said.

"In the past we have done some work around cognitive training. That is where the interest sparked was how the affect of gut bacteria can impact performance and mental health.

"Potentially it's got the ability to have a large impact on performance. There were mixed results (among players).

"The good thing was there was nothing alarming. No one had a terrible result. The pleasing part was there is an opportunity to improve.

"In the immediate period of time we can make some changes to our diets in the next two weeks. The players have their individual reports which they will be able to share with their clubs.

"The long-term goal will be have the Kangaroos get the advantage of having the testing done and taking it back to their clubs.

"The biggest thing we have found is increasing their amount of fibre."