UWS partners with NRL in Graduates of League

Graduates of League
Graduates of League
Graduates of League
Graduates of League
Graduates of League
Graduates of League

The University of Western Sydney today celebrated the launch of a strategic partnership with Rugby League that will provide more NRL stars with opportunities to develop post-football careers as part of the most comprehensive professional athlete education program in Australian sport.

The Graduates of League program aims to increase university entry, retention and completion rates of elite athletes.

Providing a powerful support network to ensure players reach their academic goals while still playing and training full-time, the program offers one-on-one tuition for at least one hour per week, which is funded by the NRL, the player’s NRL Club and the Rugby League Players Association.

“The NRL is setting the benchmark for sporting codes in Australia in terms of their commitment to the ongoing education and development of their players beyond the sporting field,” says UWS Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Corporate Strategy and Services, Rhonda Hawkins.

“The University of Western Sydney is pleased to partner with the NRL in their Graduates of League program and we look forward to continuing to work with the NRL.”

As part of the relationship between the NRL and UWS, the game will host its Sydney pre-season ‘Rookie Camps’ at the university’s Hawkesbury campus.

NRL Chief Operating Officer Mr Jim Doyle says Rugby League leads the way in providing further education pathways for professional athletes.

“Sixty per cent of NRL and Holden Cup players currently attending university are the first in their families to do so and that is a great insight into the opportunities Rugby League is creating for its players,” he says.

“To have the University of Western Sydney join the game’s academic partners through the Graduates of League program will provide even more players the chance to realise their academic dreams, like the players here today.”

“Congratulations to the game’s network of welfare and education officers who are committed to providing unrivalled education and workplace training opportunities for our players from the moment they enter the elite levels of the game.”

The new strategic partnership was announced at the UWS Parramatta Campus, where Rugby League also celebrated the naming of the 2013 NRL-RLPA Academic Team of the Year.

Created in 2011, the NRL-RLPA Academic Team of the Year highlights the game’s player welfare and education vision under the code’s strategic plan, providing players with the resources and professional advice to assist them to be vocationally active, balanced in life, self-aware and self-confident.

The criteria for selection includes consistent NRL playing performances, commitment and progress in an educational program that is preparing players for a post-footy career and a positive influence on the other players within their club.

Tim Mannah from the Parramatta Eels, Roy Asotasi from the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Ryan Hoffman from the Melbourne Storm, and Josh Jackson from Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs were among the representative stars selected in the team that for the first time features players from every NRL club and a skills set including graphic design, plumbing, sports science, carpentry and financial planning.

The 2013 NRL-RLPA Academic Team of the Year is:

  • Ben Henry, Warriors, Certificate IV in Business Management
  • Tim Mannah, Parramatta Eels, Bachelor of Sports Business
  • Ray Thompson, North QLD Cowboys, Plumbing apprenticeship (Completed)
  • Ashley Harrison, Gold Coast Titans, Financial Planner (Completed)
  • Robbie Rochow, Newcastle Knights, Bachelor of Civil Engineering
  • David Williams, Manly Sea Eagles, Diploma of Graphic Design
  • David Stagg, Brisbane Broncos, Advanced Diploma of Civil Construction
  • Roy Asotasi, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Certificate IV in Small Business (Completed)
  • Shaun Fensom, Canberra Raiders, Carpentry apprenticeship
  • Ryan Hoffman, Melbourne Storm, Bachelor of Business
  • Josh Jackson, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science
  • Dan Hunt, St George Illawarra Dragons, Bachelor of Education (PDHPE)
  • Nathan Fien, St George Illawarra Dragons, Diploma of Management
  • Cameron Ciraldo, Penrith Panthers, Diploma of Business
  • Ben Ross, Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Bachelor of Health Science
  • Daniel Mortimer, Sydney Roosters, Bachelor of Education
  • Joel Reddy, Wests Tigers, Bachelor of Sports Science


21 August 2013

Contact: Mark Smith, Media Officer