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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
  • 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.

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