St George Illawarra Dragons prop Russell Packer has been selected in the NRL RLPA Academic Team of the Year for the dedication shown to balance academic studies with football commitments.
Packer is currently completing a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting & Finance) at the University of Wollongong.
Dragons National Youth Competition halfback Jack Payne has also been honoured in the NYC Academic Team of the Year.
Payne is currently studying a Bachelor of Physical Health and Education at the University of Wollongong.
Senior NRL Wellbeing and Education Manager Paul Heptonstall expressed his delight at seeing so many players now enrolled in University or Certificate programs and making the selection of players in this Academic team much more competitive.
“The most pleasing aspect of this increased educational engagement is that the very best player’s in the game are showing that it is very possible to combine a professional athletic career with other vocational pursuits,” Mr Heptonstall said.
“It’s a wonderful achievement really and testament to the players continued commitment to balancing their life off the field.
“They are the ideal example for the next generation of professional athletes to follow; that there is much more to life than football.”
NRL-RLPA Academic Team of the Year:
Ian Henderson (Sydney Roosters)
Ryan James (Gold Coast Titans)
Jeremy Latimore (Penrith Panthers)
James Tedesco (Wests Tigers)
Ryan Hoffman (New Zealand Warriors)
Adam Blair (Brisbane Broncos)
Michael Oldfield (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Daniel Mortimer (Gold Coast Titans)
Josh Jackson (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Jake Trjbojevic (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)
Russell Packer (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Daniel Alvaro (Parramatta Eels)
Kurt Baptiste (Canberra Raiders)