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Posted by RLPA

December 12, 2015

2016 State of Mind Ambassadors named

The NRL State of Mind ambassadors for 2016 represent all 16 clubs, the Harvey Norman Jillaroos and Touch Football Australia.

Now in its third year, the NRL State of Mind program aims to encourage players, Clubs and communities to speak up and seek help if they are experiencing any form of difficulty or difference in their mood.

The ambassadors have all nominated themselves for the roles – because they want to assist with the program. One in two Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime, with suicide the biggest killer of individuals aged 15 – 44.

Current NRL State of Mind ambassador, Darius Boyd said more and more players were talking about their feelings with their families and friends, with mental illness no longer something to be kept bottled up.

“Mental illness can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime.  It’s not a Rugby League issue; it’s a society issue,” Mr Boyd said.

“It’s important that we all work together to encourage people of all ages to speak out when they are feeling vulnerable.”

NRL Head of Community, Adam Check said the program would evolve further next year, with the support of the code’s expert partners, Lifeline Australia, headspace, Kids Helpline and the Black Dog Institute.

“Together, our partners and ambassadors have spent time listening and actively participating at community and club forums across several States,” Mr Check said.

“We know that as a sport, we have a big voice and responsibility to encourage all Australians to recognise that it’s ok if you feel vulnerable – there is help available.

“To have a self-nominated ambassador at every club next year goes to show how serious our game, our players and our clubs are about mental wellbeing as part of their culture.”

In addition to new ambassadors, the NRL State of Mind program will retain 10 incumbent ambassadors from 2015.

After extensive consultation with coalition partners and junior clubs, an NRL State of Mind grassroots program has also been developed and will be delivered to selected junior clubs throughout 2016.

The aim of the program is to:

  • Reduce the stigma around mental health within clubs and communities
  • Increase mental health literacy across grassroots Rugby League clubs
  • Stimulate help seeking behaviours amongst club members and communities

To learn more about the program and if you or anyone you know would like support, visit

2016 NRL State of Mind ambassadors 

  • Matt Ballin – Wests Tigers (1st year)
  • Darius Boyd – Brisbane Broncos (2nd year)
  • Boyd Cordner – Sydney Roosters (1st year)
  • Dale Finucane – Melbourne Storm (1st year)
  • Dane Gagai – Newcastle Knights (1st year)
  • Dene Halatau – Wests Tigers (2nd year)
  • Samantha Hopkin – Touch Football Australia  (1st year)
  • Luke Kelly – Parramatta Eels (2nd year)
  • Brenton Lawrence – Manly Warringah Sea-Eagles (2nd year)
  • Suaia Matagi – Penrith Panthers (1st year)
  • Moses Mbye – Canterbury Bulldogs (1st year)
  • Michael Morgan – North Queensland Cowboys (2nd year)
  • John Palavi – New Zealand Warriors (2nd year)
  • Joseph Paulo – Cronulla Sharks (1st year)
  • Jeff Robson – New Zealand Warriors (1st year)
  • Sam Tagataese – Cronulla Sharks (2nd year)
  • James Segeyaro – Penrith Panthers (1st year)
  • David Shillington – Gold Coast Titans (1st year)
  • Ruan Sims – Australian Jillaroos (1st year)
  • Tariq Sims – Newcastle Knights (2nd year)
  • Iosia Soliola – Canberra Raiders (1st year)
  • Josh Starling – Manly Warringah Sea-Eagles (2nd year)
  • Joel Thompson – St George Illawarra Dragons (2nd year)
  • David Tyrrell – South Sydney Rabbitohs (1st year)
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