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Posted by RLPA

February 06, 2024

A show of solidarity: over 70 players enjoy successful Leaders In League

The Rugby League Players’ Association held its annual Leaders In League conference over the weekend, gathering over two days 70 of the game’s most influential current and emerging player leaders. 

The RLPA’s Leaders In League conference is designed to empower and develop the leadership qualities of the RLPA’s members. This year was the third addition of the conference and was held at the Novotel in Brighton Le-Sands. 

The Leaders In League conference also provides male and female players with the unique opportunity to connect and network with leaders from other clubs and between the NRL and NRLW competitions.  

The keynote special guest at the conference was Geelong Cats legend and AFL Premiership-winning captain Joel Selwood.  

Selwood, who played 355 games for Geelong and won four AFL Premierships, spoke to the players about leadership on and off the field throughout his career, as well as his recent transition into retirement. 

“I have been fortunate enough be invited up here by the Players Association to talk to current and emerging leaders,” said Joel Selwood. “I shared a little bit of my story, the way that I went about things in the AFL landscape, but also just share knowledge that I learnt along the way.” 

“I think the balance of being a good leader is knowing that you’re never going to nail it. You’re never going to perfect at it and you can do it in so many different ways. 

“The good thing about it is that we have so many different personalities and cultures within this room that they’re not only leading the players that they play with, but also a whole heap of people in this country and outside of this country too.” 

Also speaking at the Leaders In League players conference was a female athlete panel that included Sydney Swans AFLW co-captain Chloe Molloy, NSW Swifts netballer Maddy Proud, and former Matildas player Ellie Brush. 
“It’s been interesting to hear the perspectives of those women and where they’ve come from to where they are now,” Dale Finucane said, an RLPA Delegate and member of the Men’s Player Advisory group. 

“When we come to camps like this it’s a real show of solidarity and we’ve got one common goal that we want to achieve being here. 

“It’s good that we can bounce ideas off each other, people from different clubs.” 

Friday afternoon’s guest was performance coach Dan Haesler who ran an interactive group session about leadership and how to thrive professional and personally. Cooper Chapman, a professional surfer for more than 10 years, ran a mental health workshop on Saturday that aimed to empower the players to implement healthy daily habits. 

“We had some great speakers. I really enjoyed the session with Dan [Haesler] and just things that we can take away today back to our clubs and look to implement,” said Madison Bartlett, a member of the RLPA Women’s Player Advisory Group. 

“I was lucky that Simaima [Taufa] and Zee [Zahara Temara] were here as well. Between us three having our captains here was really cool for them to listen to some of those things as well.  
Leadership was the main theme of the conference, but the female athlete panel also spoke about their respective collective bargaining agreement disputes and the key lessons they learnt from each code, including rugby league. 
“I think for me the biggest thing was to know that we weren’t the only sport that was going through what happened,” said Bartlett.  
“Obviously we saw in the media what was happening with netball, but just that we are one big group. Whether you play AFL, whether you play soccer, everyone goes through the same thing. 
“The support that we give to each other as different sports is really important as well. It was nice to hear that they look to us for some of those things, like how we’ve looked to other sports to help us.” 

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