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Bulldogs players Dale Finucane and Adam Elliott have both been named in the NRL and NYC Academic teams of the year.

Eleven debutants including Brent Tate (Cowboys), David Shillington (Raiders), Jason Nightingale (Dragons) and Jeremy Latimore (Panthers) have joined two times team members Ryan Hoffman (Storm) and Robbie Rochow (Knights) as part of the 2014 NRL-RLPA Academic Team of the Year.

Aaron Rockley (Broncos) has been named the inaugural NRL Tradesman of the Year while Sam Perrett (Bulldogs) and Jerome Ropati (Warriors) are the first players to receive the NRL Pasifika Academic Excellence Award.

Also announced today for the first time was the Holden Cup Academic team of the year to celebrate the achievements of the game’s future players.

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.”

Academic Team of the Year recipient Brent Tate said that he could not emphasise importance of work place training and study.

“For me I having a conversation with Wayne Bennett a few years ago I realised the importance of getting an education,” Tate said.

“It was not long after that I realised I had to start the wheels in motion in terms of studying.

“As a result I am feeling more prepared to enter the work force when I approach the back end of my career.”

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

Capital Training Institute & Arouni Tech


Bulldogs Dale Finucane

Bachelor of Health and Movement

Australian College of Physical Education


Raiders David Shillington

Bachelor of Business                    

Diploma of Business

University of Canberra


Cowboys Brent Tate

Cert IV Frontline Management

Cert IV Small Business

Skill 360 

Sea Eagles Brenton Lawrence

Bachelor of Arts in International studies (completed)              

Certificates III and IV in Training                                            

Australian Institute of Workforce Development


Sea Eagles Tom Symonds

Graduated Bachelor of Health Exercise Science                                                          University of NSW


Storm Ryan Hoffman

Bachelor of Business

Open Universities

Knights Robbie Rochow

Degree in Civil Engineering  

University of Newcastle


Panthers Jeremy Latimore

Bachelor of Commerce

University of Wollongong

Panthers Education Ambassador

Panthers Ryan Simpkins

Diploma in Hydraulics Design

Qualified Plumber

St Leonards Tafe

Rabbitohs Jason Clark

Cert III Fitness and Cert IV in Small Business

Australian Institute of Fitness & Elite training company 

Qualified Apprentice Carpenter

Dragons Jason Nightingale

Bachelor of Business Degree

University of Wollongong

International NRL Player

Warriors Siliva Havili

Bachelor of Health Science – Podiatry

Auckland University of Technology




Bulldogs Adam Elliott

Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy)

Sydney University


Raiders Andrew Heffernan 

Bachelor of Sports Coaching & Exercise Science                                           

University of Canberra

Cowboys Corey Jensen

Degree in Sport & Exercise Science

James Cook University

Titans Mitch Sharp

Bachelor of Nursing 

Griffith University


Sea Eagles Jack Delaney

Bachelor of Business & Commerce

University of Western University

Storm Christian Welch 

Bachelor Commerce degree

Melbourne University

Knights Lachlan Fitzgibbon

Bachelor of Construction Management  

University of Newcastle


Panthers Joshjua Tangitau

Degree in Exercise Sports Science 

Australian catholic University


Sharks Ben Chahoud

Carpentry Apprenticeship

With Bronson Construction                         


Rabbitohs Cheyne Whitelaw  

Bachelor of Exercise Physiology

University of New South Wales

Dragons Adam Clune                         

Degree in Law

University of Wollongong 

Warriors Mason Lino   

Bachelor of Business

Auckland University of Technology

Wests Tigers Nathan Milone         

Bachelor of Business

University of Technology Sydney


Broncos Aaron Rockley

Qualified Carpenter

All Trades Queensland

Currently employed by Brett Walters


Broncos Adam Brideson

State Manager KPD

Former NRL player with Bulldogs


(Proudly sponsored by the NRL and Diamond Galleria)

Warriors Jerome Ropati

Diploma in Business & Bachelor of Health

Auckland University of Technology

NZ  University Blues Award winner 2008

Warriors Education Committee Member & Ambassador

Warrior Reading programme Captain

Deacon Youth Leader of local church since 2007

Husband and father of three

2003-2014 - NZ Warriors 145 games

Bulldogs Sam Perrett

Diploma in Management

Cert IV Building and Construction

Qualified Builder

Owns and runs Construction Company

“Trade- Up with the NRL” Apprentice mentor.

NRL Education Ambassador 2012/2013/2014

NRL Pasifika Players Advisory group

11th season as an NRL player

Husband and father of 4

Has played over 200 NRL games,

19 Test Matches for NZ


Acknowledgement of Country

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respect and honour the Darug and Eora nations, who are 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.