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The NRL today announced the game’s 2014 NRL & NYC – RLPA Academic Team of the Year, with Rabbitohs players, Jason Clark (NRL) and Cheyne Whitelaw (NYC) both acknowledged at today’s ceremony at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Both graduates of Marcellin College Randwick, Clark was today recognised for his pursuit of a Cert III in Fitness, and a Cert IV in Small Business, while NYC lock-forward, Whitelaw's recognition comes for studying for a Bachelor of Exercise Physiology.     

NRL-RLPA Welfare and Education Committee Mark Coyne said that education and workplace training was important for progression in the workforce.

“We have a wonderful group of incredibly successful NRL players here today who have shown that both commitment to the game and study are achievable,” Coyne said.

“Not only are these players a credit to themselves but are also an inspiration to all other young players showing that they too can balance further studies and a Rugby League Career.”

“I would like to congratulate not only Holden Cup players who have achieved a place on the team today, but all Holden Cup players who are part of the game’s new generation committing to both a career in football and further studies.”                     

The NRL-RLPA Academic Team of the Year was created in 2011 to honour the work NRL players are doing to prepare themselves for life after football and the game’s commitment to providing further education and work-place training for players.

Cheyne Whitelaw spoke earlier in the year about the importance of further study, as well as the challenges associated with balancing his football and academic work-load.

“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.

“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,” said Whitelaw.

“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.”

To read the full article, please click here.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs would like to congratulate both Jason and Cheyne on their achievement, and wish them all the best in their ongoing studies.


NRL-RLPA Program Highlights

·       78% (800) of NRL and NYC players are currently engaged in further education or workplace training.  The NRL is committed to growing that to 84% by 2017.

·       220 players enrolled in a university degree at the start of the 2014 season which is an increase from the 68 players that enrolled in the 2008 season.

·       24% of Indigenous players in the Holden Cup are attending University.

·       Currently 18 academic institutions deliver the NRL’s Graduates of League program. The completion rate of all players attempting University courses has increased from 60% to 87% in just two years.

·       330 players from junior representative teams, NYC, State Cups and the NRL undertaking apprenticeship are mentored by current and former NRL players.

·       There have been 350 Education grants provided to players in the 2014 season from the NRL/ RLPA Education fund totalling over $450,000.



Broncos - Todd Lowrie, Cert IV in Project ManagemenT, Cert IV in small business

Bulldogs - Dale Finucane, Bachelor of Health and Movement

Raiders - David Shillington, Bachelor of Business, Diploma of Business                      

Cowboys - Brent Tate, Cert IV  Frontline Management, Cert IV Small Business

Sea Eagles - Tom Symonds, Graduated Bachelor of Health and Exercise Science              

Sea Eagles - Brenton Lawrence,   Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (completed Certificates III and IV in Training & Level 2 Coaching)

Storm - Ryan Hoffman, Bachelor of Business

Knights - Robbie Rochow, Degree in Civil Engineering

Panthers - Jeremy Latimore, Bachelor of Commerce, Panthers Education Ambassador

Panthers - Ryan Simpkins, Diploma in Hydraulics Design, Qualified Plumber

Rabbitohs - Jason Clark, Cert III Fitness and Cert IV in Small Business                                       

Dragons - Jason Nightingale, Bachelor of Business Degree

Warriors - Siliva Havili, Bachelor of Health Science – Podiatry                    



Bulldogs - Adam Elliott, Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy)

Raiders - Andrew Heffernan, Bachelor of Sports Coaching & Exercise Science

Cowboys - Corey Jensen, Degree in Sport & Exercise Science

Titans - Mitch Sharp, Bachelor of Nursing

Sea Eagles - Jack Delaney, Bachelor of Business & Commerce

Storm - Christian Welch, Bachelor Commerce degree

Knights - Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Bachelor of Construction Management

Panthers - Joshjua Tangitau, Degree in Exercise Sports Science

Sharks - Ben Chahoud, Carpentry Apprenticeship                          

Rabbitohs - Cheyne Whitelaw, Bachelor of Exercise Physiology

Dragons - Adam Clune, Degree in Law

Warriors - Mason Lino, Bachelor of Business

Wests Tigers - Nathan Milone, Bachelor of Business UTS                



Broncos - Aaron Rockley


NRL PASIFIKA ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE AWARD (Proudly sponsored by the NRL and Diamond Galleria)

Warriors - Jerome Ropati

Bulldogs - Sam Perrett

Acknowledgement of Country

South Sydney Rabbitohs respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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