The St George Illawarra Dragons Community department is proud to be working in conjunction with the NRL Development team to deliver the Beyond the Goal Posts program to secondary school students in the Illawarra.

Beyond the Goal Posts is an exciting education program designed to help students gain accreditation in rugby league coaching and refereeing.

The program also has potential to create an employment pathway for the students through community organisations and within the NRL.

The program is targeted at secondary schools and their feeder primary schools, allowing secondary school students to become mentors and teachers to their younger peers.

Referees which had already been accredited through the program were officiating games at the Tongarra PSSA Legends Day at Albion Park last Thursday, and were quick to praise the program and the opportunities it has given them.

"I've learnt heaps of rules which you wouldn't really think of while watching the game on TV," said Travis, one of the accredited referees.

"There's over 1000 rules that a ref has to think about, but while watching the game, you only think about a couple, so it's a lot harder than it looks.

"I've always wanted to be able to control the game and doing the course has really given me an opportunity to get out there and referee on the weekends, make a bit of cash as well, so it's really good, Beyond The Goal Posts has been a great experience."

The NRL recently celebrated ‘Play NRL Round’, encouraging growth of the game and celebrating junior rugby league.

Students interested in playing rugby league can visit PlayNRL.com for more information or to register for their local team.