The NRL’s CareerWise program assists players to make well-informed future career choices off the field. As part of the initiative, Rabbitohs Club Career Coach, Rebecca Edwards, takes time out with players to discuss their chosen path. Today, Cheyne Whitelaw gives an insight into his career.

Rabbitohs under 20’s player, Cheyne Whitelaw, may have a promising rugby league career ahead of him, but footy isn’t the only thing on the local junior’s mind, with a University degree in Exercise Physiology a priority for the up and comer.

An Australian Schoolboy representative now with 21 NYC games to his name (as of Friday 27th of June 2014), Whitelaw has been a mainstay in Ben Gardiner’s Rabbitohs side this season, picking up two player of the month awards for the Club on the back of an incredibly high work-rate.

But the Marcellin College Randwick product’s work-rate doesn’t stop on the footy field, with tertiary education helping to set Whitelaw up for a career after he eventually does hang up the boots.

“I’m studying Exercise Physiology at the University of New South Wales,” said Whitelaw.

“The course looks at the rehabilitation side of exercise and how you can bring a better quality of life to both aging-individuals and kids who have experienced some form of illness – cancer or osteoporosis for example. It’s all about how you can better their quality of life by helping them achieve a bit more movement – it’s something I’m passionate about.”

After graduating from Marcellin in 2013, Whitelaw enjoyed a well-deserved three months off before throwing himself into his current routine, juggling his Rabbitohs under 20’s duties with study – a balancing act that he admits comes with its own set of challenges.

“There were definitely plenty of challenges to overcome,” admitted Whitelaw.

“Being thrown in at the deep end with all those assignments and work as well as training – it was a bit daunting, especially because you’re in a new place with new people, you kind of feel like the little fish in a big ocean.

“But I’ve actually enjoyed the challenge and have found that it’s all about time-management. The fact that it’s something that I really wanted to study really did help to keep me motivated though.”

“I haven’t really set a time limit on when I want it to be done. I sort of want to just keep chipping away at it to make sure I have something after football.

“Your next game could always be your last, and you need to respect that.”

Like all his under 20’s counterparts, Whitelaw is supported by the NYC’s No Work, NO Study = No Play policy – an initiative that seeks to prepare players for life after football by making work and study a compulsory aspect of a players development.

Whitelaw agrees with the initiative, adding that the policy, far from hindering his football, has helped to make him a better player and person.

“You have to realise that footy isn’t everything,” said Whitelaw.

“We all enjoy playing, but I’ve found that in order to improve my game, I need to have other things in my life as well and study is a really important one that’s going to help me long-term.

“If you’re constantly thinking about footy all the time, it starts to become a bit daunting and a bit stressful. Having that balance in my life, helps to keep me at the top of my footy and the top of my studies and I really believe it’s turning me into a better person as well as a better player.”

To find out more about CareerWise, please click here.