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.
NRL TEAM OF THE YEAR
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
NYC TEAM OF THE YEAR
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
TRADESMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD & APPRENTICE MENTOR
Broncos Aaron Rockley Qualified Carpenter All Trades Queensland currently employed by Brett Walters
Adam Brideson State Manager KPD Former NRL player with Bulldogs