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Posted by RLPA

December 08, 2023

Aaron Booth: I have security going forward

In 2022, Aaron Booth suffered a catastrophic multi-ligament knee injury while playing an NRL game for the Gold Coast Titans. 12 months later, the injury forced him into an early retirement at the age of 27.

Forced into retirement, Aaron was able to access the player-funded Injury Hardship Fund to help cover the sudden loss of his rugby league career.

The Injury Hardship Fund was created and funded by the players. It supports players who have lost their rugby league careers due to injuries suffered while playing.

Hear from Aaron about his journey into retirement and the Injury Hardship Fund.


When my injury happened, I was on my best run of games, and it was the first time I hadn’t thought about what I would do post-career. I was playing steady games, I was doing well, and I was even talking about signing a new contract. 

Earlier in my career, I did education courses because I was thinking about what would happen if I wasn’t playing. I was more contract-to-contract and hadn’t really secured myself in an NRL team. But by the time my injury happened, exiting the game wasn’t on my radar anymore. 

Having to retire suddenly was hard to deal with when it did happen. It was a shock when it came about, and it feels different now.  

A lot of my friends are back training at the moment, and they have just started pre-season. It’s a weird feeling. Although, I watched the boys go back and do some fitness testing, that was a good side of retirement not having to do that slug of the body.  

But it’s still a bit unknown to me. I’m transitioning into a role at the Titans and it’s a different feeling coming in at this time of the year for pre-season. This is the first time retirement has felt a bit more real and I’m sure many of those moments are still coming ahead for me. 

Aaron Booth
Aaron Booth


The Injury Hardship Fund is so important and one the players have done well to push for over the years. I’m living and breathing it right now. The suddenness of my injury has been hard to deal with and the changes that have flowed from that. The Injury Hardship Fund has now, thankfully, put me in a position where I have a safety net and some security going forward. 

It’s not life-changing, but it’s also a massive support that I can access to help me through losing my career. Before an injury like this happens, you don’t appreciate the position you are in compared to now.  

As players, we put our bodies through a lot. When a player goes through a traumatic injury like I have, there’s going to be a lot of steps to get through in order to heal and to ensure ongoing health. It’s great that players have something to access in times of hardship, transition and unknown. 

I wasn’t prepared for a sudden retirement and it’s a massive help for me. I know it will be a big help for other players when it’s called upon, especially NRLW players who will have access to the fund for the first time through the new CBA. I’ve been in the men’s space for a long time now but working as a coach with the Titans NRLW team this year, I see what they put their bodies through and the commitment that they have for the game.  

If they go through an experience like I have, it’s great they now have the same support as me.


When I was a player, I was a proud RLPA Delegate for the Titans. I had conversations with our RLPA Player Operations Manager Tom Symonds about how I could bring different insights to the club’s Delegate group because I came through a different pathway to professionalism as other players. 

Then, once I suffered my injury, we had more conversations about diving into the RLPA space even more while I had more time on my hands. My experience as a Delegate gave me a different insight into the game and it also took some pressure off the other Delegates who were still playing. I was happy to do it and I am grateful for Tom, who I made a great connection with, and all the friendships I’ve made with people at the RLPA. 

It’s a tough game. It’s a brutal game. To have that support behind the players as one whole group, and have their best interests at heart, is why the RLPA is so important to the players. It’s also a link between other players. I made connections with players through the RLPA that I wouldn’t have otherwise. 

Aaron Booth and Tom Symonds
Aaron Booth and Tom Symonds


I’m excited for where I’m heading with the Titans, and that I still get to stay in the game.  

When I suffered my injury, The Titans supported me more than they needed to. I’ve tried to show my thanks over the last year because they didn’t have to support me the way they have. They went above and beyond for me and my family and even now into retirement. I’ve been lucky that way. 

I’m doing things I’m passionate about with the female space as one of Karyn Murphy’s assistant coaches. I’m also working with the NRL team as a link between the players and the administration, working on both sides of the business and getting to see how a football club runs. 

The footy community supported me and the Titans, and the RLPA have been with me all the way. A big reason I’ve been able to transition the way I have is because of the RLPA. They’ve been massive and Tom Symonds was one of the first people I had a conversation with, and I appreciate everything he has done for me and the connection we have had. 

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