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Retired NRL stars to lead in community

NRL.com Mon, Nov 12, 2012 - 12:32 PM

New NRL Community Engagement Officers Petero Civoniceva, Hazem El Masri and Nathan Hindmarsh. Copyright: NRL Photos

Petero Civoniceva, Nathan Hindmarsh and Hazem El Masri today announced they are set to start a new phase in their careers working full-time for the NRL in the community, with a special emphasis on multicultural, new migrant and Pacific Islander programs.

The announcement was made at the NRL’s Harmony Gala Day for 150 migrant children of Middle Eastern, Pacific, African and South-east Asian background at Lidcombe Oval. The Harmony Gala Day is the culmination of a six-week Rugby League program which focuses on developing social cohesion through sport.

NRL Interim Chief Executive, Mr Shane Mattiske, said the trio would start official duties as NRL Community Engagement Officers on Monday week (November 19), working on game development, community development and welfare in key communities across Rugby League.

El Masri and Hindmarsh will be based in Sydney, with El Masri heavily focused on multicultural and new migrant programs while Hindmarsh has a general community engagement role; and Civoniceva will be based in Brisbane with a key focus on Pacific Islander programs.

“There is no doubt that these three players are outstanding role models who inspire and engage people throughout the community,” Mr Mattiske said.

“Having Hazem, Petero and Nathan on board full-time will support the game's focus on making a positive difference in the community and enriching the lives of people in all cultural communities through our Rugby League programs.”

Civoniceva said he was excited about the opportunity to continue working within the game that gave him so much throughout his Rugby League career.

“Rugby League allowed me to achieve things I never thought possible, so I am really grateful to get the chance to use the game and my position to inspire and motivate people to achieve their goals in life, whatever they may be,” he said.

While El Masri retired in 2009, Hindmarsh and Civoniceva retired in September this year, along with 11 other NRL players, including Dean Young, Phil Graham, Micheal Luck, Colin Best, Ben Hornby, Aaron Payne, Scott Geddes, Luke Burt, Casey McGuire, Jaiman Lowe and John Williams.

These players have also embarked on post-football careers in a variety of areas from running businesses in personal training, childcare, horse racing and training to mining operations, teaching, construction and working within the game as a Football Operations Manager, SG Ball Coach and Player and Welfare Education Officer.

The NRL and Club Welfare and Education departments work closely with all players to prepare them for careers after Rugby League ensuring they have the right educational and /or trade qualifications required to pursue their new career paths.