The phrase “front row forward” and “university graduate” generally aren’t two phrases synonymous with each other, but then again, current Illawarra Cutters squad member Jacob Hind isn’t your stock standard rugby league player.
At just 19, an age when most teenagers are still trying to figure out what they want in life, Hind graduated Bond University on the Gold Coast with a Bachelor of Commerce, while majoring in Finance.
“I was really interested in the stock market and in business all the way through my later years of high school,” said the now 21-year-old front-row forward.
“I really enjoyed business through my HSC and that is where I thought I should go.”
Thanks to a sponsorship deal with the Illawarra Cutters, Hind was given the opportunity to work with the Illawarra Credit Union, where he has been working as a Finance Officer for the last six months.
While working a full time job and training three times a week would be a struggle for most footballers, Hind says he finds training to be a good escape from his job.
“I sort of see training as a bit of a vent,” said Hind.
“It’s a way of getting out of sitting in front of a desk all day… I’ve always enjoyed training and staying fit, so I haven’t found it too hard to juggle at this stage.”
While playing first grade for the Bilambil Jets last season, his head coach Jimmy Lenihan asked if he would like an opportunity to link up with the Cutters.
“He basically said to me, ‘You are going really well, would you like an opportunity to go down there and play’.
“I was actually in talks to come down mid-season to play with the Cutters, but I was having a good year with my club side so chose to stick out the commitment I made with the boys,” said the Bilambil Jets junior.
“I had the opportunity to play Queensland Cup with the Burleigh Bears, but I thought it would be good for a change, and being a Dragons fan since I was a kid, it was definitely part of the pull.”
While he has yet to be given an opportunity to play NSW Cup, Hind has been so impressive with his club side Corrimal so far this season, interim head coach Rick Higgins gave the 21-year-old captaincy of the Cougars first grade side last weekend against Collies.
“He has a certain presence about him and the playing group respects him,” said Higgins.
“He just rolls his sleeves up and away he goes. He gives 100% on the field and off the field… The whole club respects the way he plays his football, but respect him more as a bloke because he is a real gentleman”.
Hind’s tireless work up front also caught the attention of local selectors, with Hind being picked to represent the Illawarra side at the Country Championships later on this year.
What makes Jacob’s rise through the ranks even more impressive, is that he has only been playing in the front row since the start of last season.
“I was moved into the front row because we were a bit light on,” said Hind.
Coach said to me ‘Can you plug a hole for a couple of weeks’, and then I started to play alright so I didn’t get out of the front row.
“It was a bit of a blessing in disguise.”
While getting an opportunity to play for the Cutters and cementing a spot in the side is his major goal for the remainder of 2014, Hind says that if that isn’t on the cards, he hopes to be selected for the NSW Country side that travels to Hawaii in July to take on the US Tomahawks.