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Posted by RLPA

September 30, 2022

2022 Academic Team of the Year

The Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) and National Rugby League (NRL) are pleased to announce the 2022 Academic Team of the Year which recognises the off-field educational achievements of 13 current NRL and NRLW players throughout the 2022 season.

As the game invests heavily in professional development, the annual Academic Team of the Year helps inspire and empower all rugby league players to further their education.

In addition, the RLPA and NRL will also recognise two Academic Achievement Awards – one male and one female player – which will be presented on Sunday to acknowledge the highest off-field wellbeing and educational achievements on Grand Final Day.

Eels captain Clint Gutherson, who will lead his side against the Panthers in this year’s NRL Grand Final, headlines the team which includes nine NRL players and four NRLW players. 

The 2022 Academic Team of the Year is as follows:

Tom EisenhuthStormMasters in Education at Australian Catholic University
Andrew FifitaSharksDiploma of Counselling in NSW TAFE
Emma TonegatoDragonsBachelor of Occupational Therapy at Australian Catholic University
Lachlan CrokerSea EaglesBachelor of Criminology & Criminal Justice at Griffith University
Adam DoueihiWests TigersBachelor of Arts/Global Studies at Australian Catholic University
Brendan ElliottCowboysMaster of Cyber Security at Griffith University
Georgia PageKnightsMasters Osteopathic Medicine at University of Newcastle
Hymel HuntKnightsDiploma of Finance Mortgage Brokering at MYFENG
Rhys KennedyBroncosMasters of Clinical Exercise Physiology at Australian Catholic University
Clint GuthersonEelsCertificate IV in Fitness at Australian College of Sport & Fitness
Tyrell FuimaonoDragonsCert IV in Building and Construction at Masters in Building and Construction Training
Wayde EganWarriorsBachelor of Business at Swinburne University
Jocelyn KelleherRoostersBachelor of High Performance Sport at Australian Catholic University
The RLPA and NRL’s 2022 Academic Team of the Year

RLPA Player Operations Manager Jamie Buhrer praised the 2022 Academic Team of the Year for their achievements on and off the field.

“It is hugely impressive that, despite the continuing increases in training and playing demands for players, that this group has shown such resolute commitment to their career development,” Buhrer said.

“Throughout the year they have remained engaged in their academic studies and have separated themselves from an impressive list of worthy recipients across both the NRL and NRLW playing groups.

“On behalf of the RLPA, I congratulate each player in the 2022 Academic Team of the Year, as we rightly celebrate their academic achievements.” 

NRL Wellbeing and Education Manager Paul Heptonstall said the Academic Team of the Year was incredibly important in highlighting the career development of the game’s NRL and NRLW players.

“At the NRL, we’re extremely proud of the players in this team as they are inspiring the next generation of rugby league players in demonstrating that they do not have to choose between a professional sporting career and the pursuit of other career goals,” Heptonstall said.

“The NRL and the RLPA have worked very hard to ensure that players have dedicated careers coaches at every club, mandated time off during the training week for other career pursuits and a pool of education grants to invest in any study program. 

“We are pleased to say that over 80 percent of our players are currently engaged in some career preparation activity, and we look forward to that number increasing further in the years to come.”

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