NRL stars Johnathan Thurston, Simon Mannering, Jason Nightingale, Dale Copley and Kody House were among some of the game's elite players recognised for their commitment to work, study and wellbeing at the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) Awards in Sydney last night.
For more than a decade, the NRL, in partnership with the RLPA, have acknowledged the efforts and exploits of those looking to better themselves away from the field.
There were 13 players selected in the NRL Academic Team of the Year, with Dale Copley from the Gold Coast Titans taking home the Male Academic Player of the Year.
Brisbane Broncos NRL Holden Women's Premiership player, Kody House, a qualified Diesel Mechanic and currently completing a Bachelor of Sports and Exercise, was awarded the Female Academic Player of the Year Award.
Retiring duo Johnathan Thurston and Jason Nightingale were also honoured with Indigenous and Pasifika Academic Excellence Awards respectively, recognising players who have gone above and beyond in their contribution to clubs, the community, work and study.
Senior NRL Wellbeing and Education Manager, Paul Heptonstall praised the commitment the playing group had shown to their Club's Wellbeing & Education programs and staff.
"It is important the game, media, community and fans, recognise the hard work and dedication NRL players do away from the field in preparing themselves for a life post-football," Mr Heptonstall said.
"Many are involved in working for or running a business, whilst raising young families and advancing themselves through vocational training or university education.
"All while meeting the high-expectations set for them as elite athletes. They should be proud of putting their futures in their own hands.
"A special congratulations must also go to Johnathan Thurston and Jason Nightingale for their leadership and support of the NRL's Wellbeing and Education programs throughout their illustrious careers," he said.
2018 NRL ACADEMIC TEAM OF THE YEAR
|Sydney Roosters||Isaac Liu||Currently completing a Cert IV in Graphic Design|
|Canterbury Bulldogs||Aiden Tolman||Currently completing a Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Education|
|Cronulla Sharks||Jayson Bukuya||Currently completing a Carpentry Apprenticeship|
|Canberra Raiders||Dunamis Lui||Currently completing a Graphic Design Pathway Program / completed a Cert IV in Small Business|
|New Zealand Warriors||Simon Mannering||Currently completing a Certificate in Quantity Surveying|
|North Queensland Cowboys||Michael Morgan||Currently completing a Diploma in Hospitality Management and Business|
|Parramatta Eels||David Gower||Currently completing a Bachelor of Sports Business (Leadership) & completing a Elite Athlete Wellbeing|
|Gold Coast Titans||Dale Copley||Currently completing a Bachelor of Laws (Honours)|
|Brisbane Broncos||Korbin Sims||Completed a Cert IV in Building and Construction|
|Melbourne Storm||Ryley Jacks||Currently completing a Cert IV in Building & Construction Management|
|South Sydney Rabbitohs||Cameron Murray||Currently completing a Diploma in Small Business Management / completed a Cert iv in Small Business Management|
|St George Illawarra Dragons||Euan Aitken||Currently completing a studying a Bachelor of Exercise Science|
|Brisbane Broncos NRLW||Kody House||Currently completing a Bach of Sports Exercise Science / completed a Diesel mechanic/ Cert iv in PT|
MALE ACADEMIC PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Dale Copley – Gold Coast Titans
FEMALE ACADEMIC PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Kody House – Brisbane Broncos
Indigenous Academic Excellence Award
Johnathan Thurston – North Queensland Cowboys
Pasifika Academic Excellence Awards
Jason Nightingale – St George Illawarra Dragons