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Newcastle Knight Robbie Rochow’s hard work away from the football field has been recognised with him named in the NRL-RLPA Academic Team of the Year for the second year running on Tuesday.

Not only has Rochow excelled as one of the Knights’ most consistent forwards in the past few years, he has studied a degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Newcastle.

“It’s great to get some recognition,” he said after learning he had been included in the academic side again in 2014.

“The first three or four years I was doing this degree while playing, I didn’t get any recognition, it was all just hard work.

“Hopefully it encourages me to finish off well.

The 23-year-old NRL player balances fulltime playing and training with his university study schedule and exams.

“The scheduling is one of the major challenges I’ve had with it, but over five or six years of studying, you learn good habits and ways to get around it,” he said.

“The Club has been really helpful…hopefully by the time I finish football I’m well on my way to graduating.”

Rochow believes having another focus helps him on the field and describes his study as a positive escape from the demands of his football career.

“Its something that keeps me healthy,”

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

The NYC Knights’ Lachlan Fitzgibbon has been named for his achievement studying a Bachelor of Construction Management at the University of Newcastle.

NRL-RLPA Welfare and Education Committee Mark Coyne said 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.”

Since the NRL-RLPA academic program has been launched, it has achieved great outcome in the game.

Seventy eight per cent, which equates to 800, NRL and NYC players are currently engaged in further education or workplace training. 

Meanwhile, 220 players were 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.

The program also boasts an increased completion rate of all players attempting University courses from 60 per cent to 87 per cent in just two years.


Broncos         Todd Lowrie             Cert IV in Project Management and 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   Tom Symonds         Graduated Bachelor of Health Exercise Science University of NSW

Sea Eagles   Brenton Lawrence   Bachelor of Arts in International studies (completed) Certificates III and IV in Training Australian Institute of Workforce Development

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 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

Adam Brideson        State Manager KPD  Former NRL player with Bulldogs