Power's university coup

Written By Unknown on Jumat, 13 Juni 2014 | 12.50

Power fitness chief Darren Burgess and coach Ken Hinkley. Picture: Sarah Reed Source: News Corp Australia

PORT Adelaide's growing reputation in the AFL for fitness programs is now part of a university curriculum.

The Power and the University of SA have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly manage a "Centre of High Performance Sport."

Port president David Koch announced the groundbreaking alliance in Sydney today during the Power's 10th anniversary celebrations of the club's 2004 AFL flag.

The centre — that Port wants to draw world attention — will focus on further developing the cutting-edge sports science work of its fitness chief Darren Burgess.

But beyond giving the Power an edge on preparing football teams, Port also wants to play a strong role in education not only for elite sports teams but in the community with health care, particularly for the aged.

Setting up a department on one of the university campuses is still a long-term goal.

"There is a lot of merit in the club having a presence in the Adelaide CBD but that does not mean we take the club away from Alberton — we will never leave Alberton," Port chief executive Keith Thomas said.

University of SA vice chancellor David Lloyd noted the university and Power can share knowledge well before they need to share a building on campus.

"We can turn up the volume on quality research in AFL football, particularly in the areas of optimising player performance, injury prevention and best practice for recovery," Professor Lloyd said.

The alliance extends the Power's 15-year link with the university.

The new course on sport science is expected to draw traction from elite sports teams around the world because of Burgess' reputation in world football after his work with the Socceroos and English Premier League club Liverpool.

"Joining forces with UniSA has the potential to significantly add value to our existing high-performance program led by Darren," Thomas said.

Not only will the Power create stronger development programs for its fitness staff, the university program also will offer new learning opportunities for its players planning their lives away from football.

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