Rookie Camp

The NRL Rookie Camp is for NRL Development List contracted players from each of the 16 Clubs that totalled 90 players and 25 Club Staff.

The University of Wollongong Campus once again played host where 22 Former or Current players such as Matt Ballin, Ben Creagh, Luke Kelly, Joel Thompson, Dene Halatau, & Ian Roberts attending along with Industry Experts delivered presentations, videos & workshops designed to assist off-field behaviour and performance.

The social responsibility topics covered are Illicit Drugs, Alcohol, Gambling, Respectful Relationships, Cultural Awareness, Mental Health & Well-Being and Social Media & Reputation Management, Personal Brand, Finance, Concussion Awareness and interactive Theatre-Sports.

These values are:

  • Excellence,
  • Inclusiveness,
  • Courage and
  • Teamwork.

The camp includes extensive training in media, cultural awareness, drugs and alcohol, social media, money management, social responsibility, respectful relationships and personal presentation.

Each session is delivered by experts and co-facilitated by a current or former NRL player so they can share their experiences and model the behaviour and character that is expected of modern Rugby League players.

Rookie Camp Review 2016

by Jeff Robson, Parramatta Eels

This was my first time attending the NRL Rookie Camp because it wasn’t around when I was a NRL rookie. It was good to be associated with this event as part of my part-time Welfare & Education role at the Parramatta Eels.

I found the camp to be very beneficial & informative for the young players who attended.

It covered all the challenges and scenarios any footballers can face when making the step of becoming a professional sportsperson.

During the 2 day camp several ex-NRL players including Alan Tongue, Ben Ross, Dene Halatau, David Solomona, Roy Asotasi, Nigel Vagana and Reni Maitua to name a few presented the seminars.

The subjects they covered were:

  • Social Media
  • Alcohol
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Personal Brand
  • Respectful Relationships
  • Cultural Awareness
  • NRL Resilience Project
  • Money Matters
  • Theatre Sports

Reni Maitua spoke to the boys about his personal experience in dabbling with illicit drugs, which ended up in him being banned from the game for 2 years. He highlighted how much it cost him financially & the depression he suffered from his actions. I feel Reni’s story would be beneficial not only for the young players but all footballers across the game & have discussed with Matt Francis about potentially having him come out & share his story with our playing group.

My highlight of the camp was Guest Speaker Ahmed Bajouri. Ahmed is currently serving a prison sentence & was allowed out on day release to deliver a presentation at the Camp. He touched on achieving his lifelong dream of playing NRL, to having that taken away from him in a car accident at the age 19. He spoke of the importance of setting your self up for life after football & how hanging out with the wrong crowd ultimately led to him getting into a fight & being sent to jail.

After speaking with our boys I am confident they found the experience worthwhile. They had a wide range of responses to each of workshops that were most relevant to them.

Also I enjoyed interacting with the young lads our club sent. They should be congratulated on the way they conducted themselves over the weekend & represented the Parramatta Eels.

By Jeff Robinson, Parramatta Eels.