Behind every successful professional sports club, those who work internally will tell you there’s a good Performance Analyst.
And Assistant Performance Analyst John Batina personifies that mantra to a tee.
A homegrown Victorian product, Batina is second in charge to the Club’s Head Performance Analyst and Kicking Coach Eoin Toolan.
While most rugby fans may not know the role well, being a Performance Analyst is crucial to any Club’s preparation for a Super Rugby match.
“The role of a Performance Analyst is generally a lot of work around footage, training and match day opposition,” Batina said.
“We’re basically there to try and be an extra pair of eyes and extra resource for the coaches to be able to utilise for any aspect of the game.
“If you could break it down into four categories in week to week, basically you’re looking at your training week, the preview of the opposition, a review of your own performance and match day.”
Batina’s pathway to becoming a Performance Analyst at the Rebels and the Head Performance Analyst of the Fijian Rugby side began nearly five years ago.
After Batina graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor in Exercise Science and Human Movement and a Bachelor in Sport and Recreation Management, Batina followed his passion for rugby into an internship with the Rebels.
“I started an internship as a video analyst under Eoin Toolan in my first year with him and Tony Mighan as the Coach,” Batina said.”
“I didn’t really have a lot of detail about what the role was when I started, I did basically all my learnings on the job throughout my internship.”
From his first year with the Club in 2014, Batina didn’t look back and was offered a full-time position for the 2015 season.
Now in his sixth Super Rugby season, Batina has seen a lot of changes to the way Performance Analysts review and obtain footage from training sessions and matches.
“The technology has definitely advanced for one thing,” Batina said.
“The era we live in today, things change on a daily basis and definitely and a thing like a drone is something we didn’t have when I started, but now the drone gets used every training session.
“It’s one of the favourite angles preferred by the coaches who identify running lines and defensive patterns, because it gives you a view that a hand-held camera or any type of camera can’t give you.”
Being a Victorian, Batina’s full time role at the Rebels is extra special given his involvement in the state’s rugby pathway system.
Initially a Melbourne Uni junior in under 8’s, Batina played the majority of his junior career at Harlequin’s Rugby Club until moving to the Northern Panthers Rugby Club at 14 years of age.
It’s a club he fondly calls home, given the lifelong memories he made in Reservoir, which even involved mentoring some current day Rebels.
“Northern Rugby Club is my home,” Batina said. “It’s a very Polynesian based community and it was a very good fit for me being an Australian Fijian.
“It’s where I made a lot of friends and I coached Fereti (Sa’aga) and Rob Leota when they were in Under 14’s, so I’ve known them for a long time and a lot of talent has come through there.”
Aside from his connection with Rugby Victoria, one aspect which Batina is extremely proud of is working for his home Super Rugby Club.
After the Rebels won their Super Rugby license in 2011, Batina says he made a pact to himself that one day represent the Club in any capacity.
“Once that decision was made (that the Rebels obtained a Super Rugby license), I knew that I had to get here,” he said.
“I didn’t want to represent anyone else because my heart’s in Melbourne and rugby in Melbourne is how I’ve grown up and it’s something I want to contribute towards, and hopefully get the premiership this year.”