Retired Rookies

The offseason that never ended

After an excellent career spanning a decade, Aidan Guerra hung up the boots in 2020.

Along the way there was plenty of success too: an NRL Premiership with the Sydney Roosters and State of Origin series wins with the Queensland Rugby League Maroons. Aidan also played for Australia and represented Italy in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

In our series ‘Retired Rookies’, we catch up with some of the Class of 2020 to find out what they got up to in their first year out of the game. Aidan shared with us some retirement lessons and thoughts for the current crop of players.

RETIRED ROOKIES: AIDAN GUERRA

What did you do in the first year of your retirement from NRL?

AG: “I had a couple of months off, enjoying time with family and friends, then I got the first job I could find which was a labourer in the coal fields.

“Started doing some PT coaching with Air Locker. After five months of retirement I then switched my focus to my future career and found a Job at Buildcert in Business Development.”

What did you find most difficult about retiring from NRL?

AG: “Finding a healthy routine. It was the offseason that never ended: holidays, dinners, people that wanted to catch up.

“There was always something on and I had no reason to say no. I got a job and joined a gym which helped.”

What do you wish you knew about transitioning that you didn’t know when you were playing?

AG: “Most job applications are online, and a blank resume probably won’t get you past the first round because everyone says they have a great work ethic and leadership skills.”

Aidan Guerra scores for the Queensland Maroons

What would you tell a young player about retirement and transitioning?

AG: “Build strong relationships, be a good person, start preparing for life after football (whatever that means to you) sooner rather than later.

“Prepare yourself for a period of trial and error when it comes to jobs. Very rarely will you go from one dream job (NRL) straight into another.”

What is an area of growth for the game in regard to player transition?

AG: “Encourage short courses and traineeships.

“I think players are reluctant to sign up for courses and degrees because they fear it will be a waste of time. Or they only want to concentrate on football because that’s where they make their earn.”

How did the RLPA and/or the Wellbeing & Education program help you transition?

AG: “I was ready for retirement for a number of different reasons. So, I didn’t feel the need to lean too hard on either.

“A phone call here or there was all I needed. I found it was really helpful talking to blokes I knew who had recently transitioned about their experience, and trying to learn from those conversations.”

Aidan Guerra holding the Provan-Summons Trophy after Sydney Roosters 2013 Grand Final victory