Australia's departing Head of Sports Science Dr Craig Duncan has spoken of his pride in seeing the Caltex Socceroos "dominate" physically at the FIFA World Cup™.
Dr Duncan finished a four-year spell with the national team at the conclusion of football's showpiece event.
In that time he helped the Caltex Socceroos win the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, while success has also come during stints working with Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers.
Though unable to reach the knockout rounds in Russia, Dr Duncan took plenty of encouragement from the athletic performance of the players.
"Physically we were better than each of the three teams we played, we dominated in that sense, and so from a performance science perspective, that's successful," he told ACU website Impact.
"But overall the disappointment is still there because after such a long and arduous qualifying campaign, a change of coach, and then getting the team to where it was just before the tournament, you can't help but get the feeling of 'so close but yet so far'."
Reflecting on the broader role of sports science, Dr Duncan encouraged up-and-comers in his field to forget about the uncontrollable features of a match and instead focus on minimising injuries and maximising performance.
"We did that, and in this World Cup, our sports science has had international recognition and we were able to achieve the lowest injury rates in Socceroos history for a tournament," he said.
"I think that's a pretty good legacy and I'm proud of what we've been able to achieve."
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In addition to his role as a university lecturer, the former ESSA Sports Scientist of the Year will now concentrate on his work as director and co-founder of the Performance Intelligence Agency.
Dr Duncan is also writing a book as part of his aim to continue influencing the "vast" world of sports science.
"I've been a Socceroos fan since I was a child and that will never change, and it's been a great honour to work with the team over the past four years," he added.