NYC Squad mentored by some of Australia's best
Wednesday 19 December 2012 3:21 PM
In 2013 the Sydney Roosters NYC Squad are working as hard on the pitch as they are off it, with the introduction of the Rugby League Professional Development Course for all Under 20s players.
The course, introduced as a means of developing life skills for players in their rugby league career and in preparation for life after, kicked off at the beginning of the Pre-Season by Sydney Roosters Player Development Manager Brian Sinclair and incorporates all aspects of life away from the game.
“The program includes courses on basic things like cooking and nutrition to the more complex issues facing young men – and athletes – like mental toughness, mental resilience and developing strong and healthy relationships.” Sinclair told Roosters.com.au
“This will help the guys in their rugby league career and it will help those too that might not make it – which we’re realistic about. The percentages are that from a Squad of 30 only 5 will end up playing in the NRL,” Sinclair continued.
Since coming together 7 weeks ago, the group have already tested their skills in the kitchen with a cooking course, dived in the deep end for a stroke correction lesson in swimming and last weekend were invited to a private mentoring session at Bondi Surf Club hosted by Olympic Gold Medallist Kerri Pottharst.
Following their Saturday morning session, the group were invited to pose questions to a panel including former Beach Volleyball star Pottharst, current NRL stars Anthony Minichiello, Martin Kennedy, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Mitchell Aubusson and former Rooster and Rugby Union international Ryan Cross.
“What we’re trying to do here is bring in those people who have excelled in their field and getting them on board to help educate our players,” said Sinclair.
From game preparation, balancing relationships away from football to managing your money, Pottharst opened the floor to the Tricolours next generation as their NRL counterparts shared stories and lessons learnt from their careers.
Pottharst, who spoke with Roosters.com.au following the session, was inspired by buy-in from the panel.
“We had a really good mix of guys on the panel – young through to retired, and some in the middle. I thought the guys contributed so well and were so warm and inviting to the younger guys to ask those questions and really giving some great advice,” the two-time Olympian said.
“I’m really passionate about helping athletes and I don’t mind where those athletes come from – they don’t have to necessarily be in my sport, or even a female sport,” she said.
“This is the first time I’ve worked with rugby league and although I’m actually a Manly [Sea Eagles] ‘Angel’, so I’m in enemy territory, that’s not what it’s about for me. It’s about being passionate for the people involved.”
Albeit in its early stages the Rugby League Professional Development Course is already starting to gain momentum and prove its worth for the current crop of NYC players, with Pottharst surprised it isn’t something that more teams and even sports have taken on.
“I think more sports should do this and I’m quite surprised that a lot of senior athletes are under-utilised in this way because this is a great thing for those coming through at a young age.”
“Everything that this program is providing these guys is fantastic and I think it’s awesome. It’s going to make them better men and better in the community, better Dad’s, better partners because they’re going to learn so much.”