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Highly educated rugby league players


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Rugby league has long been looked down upon by the educated segments of the population in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, because its players are mostly poorly educated, and often inarticulate. Many have even dropped out of high school. This is a result of the fact that rugby league is primarily a working class game. Rugby Union recruits from the middle and upper middle classes, and its players, by contrast, are generally much better educated than rugby league players, and many are university graduates and highly articulate. Some are doctors and lawyers.

While this view of rugby league players has a basis in reality, there are some top quality rugby league players who have achieved high levels of tertiary education.

Below is a list of those I have been able to determine from my research on NRL players (though one is now with Leeds), who have completed tertiary education. Only one of these, Damien Cook, has a fairly "soft" degree in Physical Education. However Cook is an articulate and intelligent man, which is why he has been hired by Fox League in Australia for commentary.

I have only listed those who were playing in the NRL in 2020 or recently.

 

Anthony Don. (Gold Coast. Wing ) Master of Business Administration, University of New England. NRL and Rugby League Player's Association Academic Player of the Year 2020.

Justin Olam   (Melbourne Storm. Centre). Bachelor of Applied Physics. Papua New Guinea Institute of Technology. Lae.

Christian Welch. (Melbourne Storm. Prop)  Bachelor of Commerce. University of Melbourne. 2017. Now studying for Masters degree.

Luke Keary (Sydney Roosters. Five eighth) . Bachelor of Business Administration. Australian Catholic University.

Tom Trbojevic (Manly. Full back) Bachelor of Applied Finance with Bachelor of Economics. Macquarie University.

Ava Seumanufagai (former Wests Tigers, Cronulla. Now Leeds. Prop) Bachelor of Psychology. Australian Catholic University.

Damien Cook (South Sydney. Hooker). Bachelor of Education. Australian College of Physical Education.

Russell Packer (Wests Tigers. Prop) Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Finance). University of Wollongong

Jeremy Latimore (Penrith, St George. Prop. Retired) Bachelor of Business. University of Wollongong. Currently mortgage broker.

Adam Clune (St George. Half back). Bachelor of Law- Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) with distinction. University of Wollongong 

Alex Twal (Wests Tigers. Prop). Bachelor of Commerce. Australian Catholic University.

Tristan Sailor (St. George-Illawarra. wing). Bachelor of Commerce. University of New South Wales. Now studying Bachelor of Architecture, University of New South Wales.

Tristan Sailor is the son of Brisbane, Queensland, and Australian representative legend winger, Wendell Sailor.

 

The Melbourne Storm's smart and educated duo:

Image may contain: 1 person

Justin Olam

 

Christian Welch is an NRL veteran - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting  Corporation)

Christian Welch

 

Here is an interview with Welch in 2014, when he was a 20 year old university student:

 

NRL Wellbeing & Education Manager, Paul Heptonstall said of 550 contracted players, 93 current NRL players have completed or are completing a University Degree, while seven players are doing a Masters degree, through 32 different universities.

 

Can anyone on this forum come up with a list of highly educated (tertiary level degrees) rugby league players in Super League or even the Championship?

Obviously among former players former Wigan Warriors  and Newcastle Knights winger Brian Carney,  now with Sky Sports, has  a law degree from the University of Dublin, and is a highly educated and intelligent man.

 

How about players in France?

Again, among former players, multi capped international half back, Maxime Greseque, now a coach, has a law degree.

Edited by Manfred Mann
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I recognize that you don't have to have tertiary education to be highly intelligent.

The most obvious case is that of Melbourne Storm, Sydney Roosters, Queensland Origin and Australian national half back Cooper Cronk. He graduated high school, but never went to university, even though he clearly has more than enough brain power to do so. Cronk is now one of the most respected and intelligent commentators on Fox League.

Here is how Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson, also a very intelligent man, who reportedly loves to read history, spoke of his retiring half back Cooper Cronk at the press conference after the Roosters won the 2019 Grand Final:

“It’s hard to explain how great Cooper is,” Robinson said. “I’m a better coach because Cooper is here. We are a better club and a better team because Cooper is here. We asked him to come and do a job and he said, ‘I’m going to come, I’m going to get it done.’“I think he is the greatest thinker to ever play rugby league. .

Edited by Manfred Mann
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38 minutes ago, Manfred Mann said:

Tom Trbojevic (Manly. Full back) Bachelor of Applied Finance with Bachelor of Economics. Macquarie University.

Macquarie Universities Economics Degree has a reputation that rivals both Sydney and NSW University`s, both internationally top 50 ranked universities. When my youngest was researching where to pursue his studies recently the chatter on-line was that Macquarie actually provided the premier degree in that particular field. When I did my Economics Degree there in the 80`s the course was littered with lecturers who had backgrounds in the IMF, other international bodies or who had been advisors to Governments either here or overseas.

 

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1 minute ago, The Rocket said:

Macquarie Universities Economics Degree has a reputation that rivals both Sydney and NSW University`s, both internationally top 50 ranked universities. When my youngest was researching where to pursue his studies recently the chatter on-line was that Macquarie actually provided the premier degree in that particular field. When I did my Economics Degree there in the 80`s the course was littered with lecturers who had backgrounds in the IMF, other international bodies or who had been advisors to Governments either here or overseas.

 

Interesting information you have provided.

It sure looks like the NRL star Tom Trbojevic is a smart and well educated  man.

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St George Illawarra Dragons' maths-mad halfback Adam Clune brings degrees in law and finance to NRL - ABC News

Good story and great to see it on the ABC.

Manfred there is so much untapped potential amongst the many kids of working class background in this country. The problem and I have seen it over and over is more that they have parents who although would love them to excel academically don`t know how to encourage or nurture their kids ability. This pervasive underachievement becomes endemic in schools and regions and then is compounded with issues of peer pressure.

Kids from other cultural backgrounds with even a modicum of ability often have parents who know exactly how to maximise any potential in their child.

This cultural divide is reinforced then with popular notions that kids from some backgrounds are naturally smarter than others, which I know from experience is absolute nonsense.

I have little doubt that Adam Clune is no smarter than many of his Rugby League peers, the difference was having parents who are school teachers and indeed his father a Principal, who probably ensured he was able to take advantage of any innate ability.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Manfred Mann said:

Rugby league has long been looked down upon by the educated segments of the population in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, because its players are mostly poorly educated, and often inarticulate. Many have even dropped out of high school. This is a result of the fact that rugby league is primarily a working class game. Rugby Union recruits from the middle and upper middle classes, and its players, by contrast, are generally much better educated than rugby league players, and many are university graduates and highly articulate. Some are doctors and lawyers.

While this view of rugby league players has a basis in reality, there are some top quality rugby league players who have achieved high levels of tertiary education.

Below is a list of those I have been able to determine from my research on NRL players (though one is now with Leeds), who have completed tertiary education. Only one of these, Damien Cook, has a fairly "soft" degree in Physical Education. However Cook is an articulate and intelligent man, which is why he has been hired by Fox League in Australia for commentary.

I have only listed those who were playing in the NRL in 2020 or recently.

 

Anthony Don. (Gold Coast. Wing ) Master of Business Administration, University of New England. NRL and Rugby League Player's Association Academic Player of the Year 2020.

Justin Olam   (Melbourne Storm. Centre). Bachelor of Applied Physics. Papua New Guinea Institute of Technology. Lae.

Christian Welch. (Melbourne Storm. Prop)  Bachelor of Commerce. University of Melbourne. 2017. Now studying for Masters degree.

Luke Keary (Sydney Roosters. Five eighth) . Bachelor of Business Administration. Australian Catholic University.

Tom Trbojevic (Manly. Full back) Bachelor of Applied Finance with Bachelor of Economics. Macquarie University.

Ava Seumanufagai (former Wests Tigers, Cronulla. Now Leeds. Prop) Bachelor of Psychology. Australian Catholic University.

Damien Cook (South Sydney. Hooker). Bachelor of Education. Australian College of Physical Education.

Russell Packer (Wests Tigers. Prop) Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Finance). University of Wollongong

Jeremy Latimore (Penrith, St George. Prop. Retired) Bachelor of Business. University of Wollongong. Currently mortgage broker.

Adam Clune (St George. Half back). Bachelor of Law- Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) with distinction. University of Wollongong 

Alex Twal (Wests Tigers. Prop). Bachelor of Commerce. Australian Catholic University.

Tristan Sailor (St. George-Illawarra. wing). Bachelor of Commerce. University of New South Wales. Now studying Bachelor of Architecture, University of New South Wales.

Tristan Sailor is the son of Brisbane, Queensland, and Australian representative legend winger, Wendell Sailor.

 

The Melbourne Storm's smart and educated duo:

Image may contain: 1 person

Justin Olam

 

Christian Welch is an NRL veteran - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting  Corporation)

Christian Welch

 

Here is an interview with Welch in 2014, when he was a 20 year old university student:

 

NRL Wellbeing & Education Manager, Paul Heptonstall said of 550 contracted players, 93 current NRL players have completed or are completing a University Degree, while seven players are doing a Masters degree, through 32 different universities.

 

Can anyone on this forum come up with a list of highly educated (tertiary level degrees) rugby league players in Super League or even the Championship?

Obviously among former players former Wigan Warriors  and Newcastle Knights winger Brian Carney,  now with Sky Sports, has  a law degree from the University of Dublin, and is a highly educated and intelligent man.

 

How about players in France?

Again, among former players, multi capped international half back, Maxime Greseque, now a coach, has a law degree.

Rugby League has never made full use of it's educated intelligent players and coaches.

It should be making better of use of them when they are still playing and when they retire

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1 hour ago, The Rocket said:

St George Illawarra Dragons' maths-mad halfback Adam Clune brings degrees in law and finance to NRL - ABC News

Good story and great to see it on the ABC.

Manfred there is so much untapped potential amongst the many kids of working class background in this country. The problem and I have seen it over and over is more that they have parents who although would love them to excel academically don`t know how to encourage or nurture their kids ability. This pervasive underachievement becomes endemic in schools and regions and then is compounded with issues of peer pressure.

Kids from other cultural backgrounds with even a modicum of ability often have parents who know exactly how to maximise any potential in their child.

This cultural divide is reinforced then with popular notions that kids from some backgrounds are naturally smarter than others, which I know from experience is absolute nonsense.

I have little doubt that Adam Clune is no smarter than many of his Rugby League peers, the difference was having parents who are school teachers and indeed his father a Principal, who probably ensured he was able to take advantage of any innate ability.

 

 

Yep

It breaks my heart seeing kids in situations where their aren't encouraged. 

I include academic and physical/sport encouragement 

My parents were beyond s****e in every way for this... Lucky for me I realised bthe importance of both despite them 

 

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I think full time professionalism has had an effect here. Back in part time days there were many players, including some of the  top ones, who had jobs that needed high qualifications. I think Saints had a player who was an actuary 

When I played one of our players had several pro offers but signed for Workington because, as a graduate engineer, he had a good job offer from Windscale. I don't think he would have entertained the idea of being full time.

 

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9 hours ago, Manfred Mann said:

Rugby league has long been looked down upon by the educated segments of the population in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, because its players are mostly poorly educated, and often inarticulate. Many have even dropped out of high school. This is a result of the fact that rugby league is primarily a working class game. Rugby Union recruits from the middle and upper middle classes, and its players, by contrast, are generally much better educated than rugby league players, and many are university graduates and highly articulate. Some are doctors and lawyers.

While this view of rugby league players has a basis in reality, there are some top quality rugby league players who have achieved high levels of tertiary education.

Below is a list of those I have been able to determine from my research on NRL players (though one is now with Leeds), who have completed tertiary education. Only one of these, Damien Cook, has a fairly "soft" degree in Physical Education. However Cook is an articulate and intelligent man, which is why he has been hired by Fox League in Australia for commentary.

I have only listed those who were playing in the NRL in 2020 or recently.

 

Anthony Don. (Gold Coast. Wing ) Master of Business Administration, University of New England. NRL and Rugby League Player's Association Academic Player of the Year 2020.

Justin Olam   (Melbourne Storm. Centre). Bachelor of Applied Physics. Papua New Guinea Institute of Technology. Lae.

Christian Welch. (Melbourne Storm. Prop)  Bachelor of Commerce. University of Melbourne. 2017. Now studying for Masters degree.

Luke Keary (Sydney Roosters. Five eighth) . Bachelor of Business Administration. Australian Catholic University.

Tom Trbojevic (Manly. Full back) Bachelor of Applied Finance with Bachelor of Economics. Macquarie University.

Ava Seumanufagai (former Wests Tigers, Cronulla. Now Leeds. Prop) Bachelor of Psychology. Australian Catholic University.

Damien Cook (South Sydney. Hooker). Bachelor of Education. Australian College of Physical Education.

Russell Packer (Wests Tigers. Prop) Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Finance). University of Wollongong

Jeremy Latimore (Penrith, St George. Prop. Retired) Bachelor of Business. University of Wollongong. Currently mortgage broker.

Adam Clune (St George. Half back). Bachelor of Law- Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) with distinction. University of Wollongong 

Alex Twal (Wests Tigers. Prop). Bachelor of Commerce. Australian Catholic University.

Tristan Sailor (St. George-Illawarra. wing). Bachelor of Commerce. University of New South Wales. Now studying Bachelor of Architecture, University of New South Wales.

Tristan Sailor is the son of Brisbane, Queensland, and Australian representative legend winger, Wendell Sailor.

 

The Melbourne Storm's smart and educated duo:

Image may contain: 1 person

Justin Olam

 

Christian Welch is an NRL veteran - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting  Corporation)

Christian Welch

 

Here is an interview with Welch in 2014, when he was a 20 year old university student:

 

NRL Wellbeing & Education Manager, Paul Heptonstall said of 550 contracted players, 93 current NRL players have completed or are completing a University Degree, while seven players are doing a Masters degree, through 32 different universities.

 

Can anyone on this forum come up with a list of highly educated (tertiary level degrees) rugby league players in Super League or even the Championship?

Obviously among former players former Wigan Warriors  and Newcastle Knights winger Brian Carney,  now with Sky Sports, has  a law degree from the University of Dublin, and is a highly educated and intelligent man.

 

How about players in France?

Again, among former players, multi capped international half back, Maxime Greseque, now a coach, has a law degree.

Seems very NRL centric..... maybe one for an NRL forum......

Think a more intresting version of this topic would be names of to academics who played RL. I do know the lead scientist who lead the large hadron collider project for the first 3 years played centre for Whitehaven in his youth.

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15 minutes ago, Mr Frisky said:

Seems very NRL centric..... maybe one for an NRL forum......

Think a more intresting version of this topic would be names of to academics who played RL. I do know the lead scientist who lead the large hadron collider project for the first 3 years played centre for Whitehaven in his youth.

A highly rated professor in exercise nutrition at LJMU used to play for Warrington 

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1 hour ago, JohnM said:

Hmmm. the ones listed might be highly qualified (very necessary for post playing career employment) , but are they highly highly educated?

Not if they’ve got Finance and Economics degrees. Finance is better off being learned on the job than at a University. 

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1 hour ago, philipw said:

A highly rated professor in exercise nutrition at LJMU used to play for Warrington 

Prof. Ben Westwood. He won the Nobel Prize for medicine with his paper on “How to get fit by eating loads of bacon and smacking your opponents round the chops”.

I think Mark Hilton is a maths teacher these days though. That’s serious too.

Edited by Cheshire Setter
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I believe one of the reasons why Liam McAvoy has resigned with Newcastle Thunder for 2021 is that he has just gone back to Northumbria University to do a Masters in Engineering. 

There is also a bunch of other Thunder players who have either studied at or are studying at Northumbria, although I couldn't tell you if their doing soft degrees.

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I think its worth thinking about what education is: 

Qualification: a pass of an examination or an official completion of a course, especially one conferring status as a recognized practitioner of a profession or activity.

Education: the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, morals, beliefs, and habits.

In my view, Qualification does not equate to education. 

I think we have more educated players than we do players with qualifications.

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Four legs good - two legs bad

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7 hours ago, JohnM said:

I think its worth thinking about what education is: 

Qualification: a pass of an examination or an official completion of a course, especially one conferring status as a recognized practitioner of a profession or activity.

Education: the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, morals, beliefs, and habits.

In my view, Qualification does not equate to education. 

I think we have more educated players than we do players with qualifications.

University is education and while you can be successful without going to university and unsuccessful after going to university, higher levels of education do provide more opportunity.  Sounds a bit like you have a chip on your shoulder John. 

Here is the dictionary definition. Education a process of teaching, training, and learning, especially in schools or colleges, to improve knowledge and develop skillselementary educationsecondary educationhigher educationadult education classesa college educationthe state education systema man of little educationShe completed her formal education in 1995.

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1 hour ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

University is education and while you can be successful without going to university and unsuccessful after going to university, higher levels of education do provide more opportunity.  Sounds a bit like you have a chip on your shoulder John. 

Here is the dictionary definition. Education a process of teaching, training, and learning, especially in schools or colleges, to improve knowledge and develop skillselementary educationsecondary educationhigher educationadult education classesa college educationthe state education systema man of little educationShe completed her formal education in 1995.

You clearly misunderstand if you think I have a chip on my shoulder about ANYTHING. You know nothing of my education and qualifications, probably obtsined before you were even conceived.

Very often, a person's education does not start until after University. It's good that some players have earned degrees, of course, and the more the merrier I say. 

You clearly denigrate people without degrees as uneducated, whereas that is plainly incorrect. Players clearly need  to look to how they make a living after they have stopped playing. There are not enough jobs in the game for all of them, though, and vocational qualifications give ex-players opportunities. 

By the way Whatever does skillselementary educationsecondary educationhigher educationadult education classesa college educationthe state education systema man of little educationShe completed her formal education in 1995.mean? 

Four legs good - two legs bad

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