2016 Camp - A former player’s perspective
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
- 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.