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2016 NRL-RLPA Academic Team of the Year

2016 NRL-RLPA Academic Team of the Year

Seven debutants including Adam Blair (Broncos), Jake Trbojevic (Sea Eagles), Kurt Baptiste (Raiders) and Russell Packer (Dragons) were named alongside five two-time winners and a three-time recipient in Ryan Hoffman (Warriors) as part of the 2016 NRL-RLPA Academic Team of the Year.

Ryan James (Titans), Josh Jackson (Bulldogs), Daniel Mortimer (Titans), Jeremy Latimore (Panthers) and James Tedesco (Tigers) were acknowledged for the dedication shown to balancing their studies with football commitments for a second time, while boom Panthers rookie Nathan Cleary was also included in the Holden Cup Academic Team of the Year.

Dane Gagai (Knights) and Ray Thompson (Cowboys) were awarded Indigenous Leadership and Excellence Awards, with Warrior Ben Henry and Shark Sam Tagataese picking up the Pasifika Award for Leadership and Excellence. The four winners will travel to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to attend lectures, share stories and celebrate their achievements on an international scale.

Henry, who was forced into early retirement in 2016 at the age of 24 due to multiple recurring injuries, was delighted at winning an award as well as the trip to UCLA.

"I'm very honoured and humbled to receive this award. I've had a tough year, but I guess there's a light at the end of every tunnel and this is it for me," Henry said.

"It's going to be an enjoyable experience. I've talked to Jerome Ropati and he enjoyed his time over there, so I'm very much looking forward to it."

Senior NRL Wellbeing and Education Manager Paul Heptonstall expressed his delight at seeing so many players now enrolled in University or Certificate programs and making the selection of players in this Academic team much more competitive. 

"The most pleasing aspect of this increased educational engagement is that the very best player's in the game are showing that it is very possible to combine a professional athletic career with other vocational pursuits," Mr Heptonstall said.

"It's a wonderful achievement really and testament to the players continued commitment to balancing their life off the field. 

"They are the ideal example for the next generation of professional athletes to follow; that there is much more to life than football."

NRL-RLPA Program Highlights

- 800 of the 1000 NRL and NYC players are currently engaged in further education or workplace training. 

- 21 per cent of NRL and NYC players enrolled in a university degree at the start of the 2016 season

- 40 per cent of NRL and NYC attempted a Certificate to Diploma program with approx. 15 per cent of these doing a formal trade apprenticeship. 

- Currently 18 academic institutions deliver the NRL's Graduates of League program. The completion rate of all players attempting university courses has continued to increase with 85 per cent of all subjects attempted being passed.

- There have been $600k in education grants provided by the RLPA to over 400 different player’s education.

- NRL Clubs have provided their players with an additional $2.4 million in educational incentives to engage in vocational pursuits away from football.

- 16 of the 36 players to play in this year’s U/20’s Qld or NSW State of Origin teams were studying at University with the balance doing apprenticeships, trades or vocational experience. 

NRL-RLPA Academic Team of the Year

Roosters

Ian Henderson

Completed a Diploma of Financial Planning

KAPLAN

Titans

Ryan James

Currently completing a Bachelor Of Business

Griffith University

Panthers

Jeremy Latimore

Completed a Bachelor of Business

University of Wollongong

Tigers

James Tedesco

Currently completing a Bachelor Health & Exercise Science

ACU

Warriors

Ryan Hoffman

Currently completing a Bachelor of Business

Open Universities

Broncos

Adam Blair

Currently completing a Bachelor of Social Science

ACU Brisbane

Rabbitohs

Michael Oldfield

Currently completing a Bachelor of Commerce

Macquarie University

Titans

Daniel Mortimer

Completed a Bachelor of Education (Physical and Health Education)

Australian College of Physical Education

Bulldogs

Josh Jackson

Currently completing a Bachelor of Exercise & Sports Science

University of Newcastle

Sea Eagles

Jake Trjbojevic

Completed a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Management

University Technology Sydney

Dragons

Russell Packer

Currently completing a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting & Finance)

University of Wollongong

Eels

Daniel Alvaro

Currently completing a Bachelor of Business & Construction Management

University of Technology Sydney

Raiders

Kurt Baptiste

Currently completing a Bachelor of Engineering

Queensland University of Technology

 

NYC Academic Team of the Year  

Storm

Ben Nakubuwai

Currently completing a Bachelor of Exercise Science

Australian Catholic University

Tigers

Jacob Liddle

Currently studying a Bachelor of Engineering

Macquarie University

Roosters

Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck

Currently studying a Filmakers Intensive and completed a Cert IV in Graphic Design

Australian Film Television and Radio School

Sharks

Jayden Brailey

Currently completing a Bachelor of Exercise & Sports Science

Australian Catholic University

Rabbitohs

Angus Crichton

Currently studying a Bachelor of Arts Media and Communications

University of Sydney

Titans

Sam Swift

Currently studying a Bachelor of Journalism

Griffith University

Panthers

Nathan Cleary

Currently completing a Bachelor of Arts Pathway to Secondary Teaching

University of Western Sydney

Dragons

Jack Payne

Currently studying a Bachelor of Physical Health and Education

University of Wollongong

Knights

Jack Cogger

Currently completing a Bachelor of Social Science

University of Newcastle

Eels

Jack Morris

Currently completing a Bachelor of Physical Activity and Health Science

Australian Catholic University

Raiders

Jack Hickson

Currently completing a Bachelor of Law and Business Administration

Australian National University

Broncos

Max Elliott

Currently completing a Bachelor of Sports & Exercise Science

Australian Catholic University

Cowboys

Ross Bella

3rd Year Apprentice Electrician

Tafe Queensland

 

Pasifika Leadership and Excellence Award 

Sam Tagataese - Cronulla Sharks

Ben Henry - New Zealand Warriors

Indigenous Leadership and Excellence Award 

Dane Gagai - Newcastle Knights

Ray Thompson - North Queensland Cowboys

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