The Hutchinson Builders Centre, home of the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys has been further cemented as a world-class sporting facility, following the opening of James Cook University’s Performance Science Hub on level 2.
The Cowboys will reap the benefits of the Hub which features state-of-the-art equipment including a physiology laboratory and performance analytics capabilities.
The use of performance analytics will improve athlete performance, game management and physical capacity, while the physiology laboratory will assess how athletes and those in other physically demanding occupations perform in hot environments.
Cowboys CEO Jeff Reibel said the hub will help connect players and students to boost elite and professional sport and opportunities in North Queensland.
“For the Cowboys, sports science is having an increased impact on measuring and maintaining elite performance, so to have this facility at our fingertips will only add to our capabilities as a professional rugby league club, competing at the highest level,” he said.
“Professional sport is highly analytical, with research and data becoming pivotal to the club’s day-to-day operations, so combining JCU’s Performance Science Hub with the other offerings at the Hutchinson Builders Centre will continue to grow the Cowboys as a formidable force in the NRL.
“Enabling students to work alongside professional athletes also ensures North Queensland continues to produce talented university graduates across a range of disciplines that benefit the sport and wellbeing industries in the north.”
The Hub builds on the centre’s commitment to giving back to the community, offering opportunities for JCU staff and students to have access to professional athletes while also attracting sporting teams and players from outside the region.
JCU Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding said the Hub represents a technological leap for sports and exercise science research.
“We are incredibly excited about the potential of this facility to advance athletic high performance in northern Queensland,” she said.
“The Hub will support students from JCU’s Elite Athlete Program as they focus on their training and competition while balancing their studies and encourage them to stay in the region.”
JCU Head of Sport and Exercise Science Associate Professor Fiona Barnett added the Hub has been launched after several years of planning in collaboration with the Cowboys.
“We visited a number of facilities to get an idea about what we should provide, and Elite Athlete University Co-ordinator Wade Sinclair did a lot of research into what world-class facilities are available,” Associate Prof Barnett said.
“We took into consideration the needs of local athletes and teams while also offering opportunities for professional sports teams and elite athletes from elsewhere to train here.
“This is essentially a continuation of what we have been doing for many years at JCU with Sport and Exercise Science but we are now going to be able to do that work at a much higher level with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities.”
The opening of the hub builds on the Cowboys long-standing and multi-layered partnership with James Cook University.
Cowboys CEO Jeff Reibel said the new addition to the Hutchinson Builders Centre would build on both organisations’ goals for providing opportunities for athletes in North Queensland.
“The Hutchinson Builders Centre was designed with a vision that it would be a multi-purpose venue combining community areas, multi-sport high-performance training spaces, sports medicine and sports science laboratories,” he said.
“JCU’s Performance Science Hub adds yet another dimension to the shared facility, combining professional sport with university level research and education, to offer the best in sports performance right here in North Queensland.
“The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys and James Cook University have maintained strong ties for many years, now teaming up to nurture elite talent in North Queensland and providing opportunities for those athletes to remain based in regional Queensland.”