Skip to main content

Posted by RLPA

February 01, 2024

Fanning and 9PL combine to help officially launch Past Player & Transition Program

The Rugby League Players’ Association successfully held its first Connection Event for the new Past Player & Transition Program on the Gold Coast last week, with more than 35 players attending.

The Connection Event was the first touch point past players have had with the new Program after it was officially rolled out to the rugby league industry in December.

The five pillars of the RLPA’s new Past Player & Transition Program are Transition, Medical, Financial, Mental Fitness, and Connection. The Connection pillar aims to provide opportunities to connect with rugby league and fellow past players through Program initiatives, events and activities.

Last week’s Connection Event at Balter Brewing Company in Currumbin featured a special Q&A session with Mick Fanning, with Ryan Girdler facilitating.

The RLPA also entered its inaugural team into the Nines Premier League competition, with games taking place over Friday and Saturday following the Connection Event at Balter. The RLPA team featured 18 former players who all made their elite debuts in the National Rugby League, and the tournament itself featured around 60 past players who participated across all the entered teams.

Tom Symonds, the RLPA’s General Manager, Past Players and Transition, praised the success of the RLPA’s first ever Connection Event.

“The RLPA takes pride in our understanding of players and their associated challenges, particularly after their professional playing careers. We’re very proud to begin our new Program with such a successful event. The impressive gathering of past players at the Connection Event highlights the long-term trust and rapport the RLPA has built with players, as well as the demand for these types of initiatives to support the cohort.

“To have such an icon of Australian and world sport like Mick Fanning share his experiences so authentically with our past players was a true once-in-a-lifetime experience. Listening to and speaking with Mick in an intimate and relaxed environment provided huge value, as did the chance to network and catch-up with other past players.”

“The RLPA involvement in the Nines Premier League (9PL) tournament certainly elevated the success of the Connection Event. Our team nickname, The Fossils, reflected our on-field performances, but off the field we quickly formed a close bond and enjoyed an unbelievable weekend together. Our involvement also provided a great chance for players across all teams to engage with our new Program and RLPA staff in myself, Joe Galuvao, Keegan Hipgrave, and our CEO Clint Newton.

“The RLPA would also like to extend its congratulations to the 9PL team, in particular director and past player Ant Mitchell, for hosting such a great event and we look forward to collaborating again in coming years.

About the Past Player & Transition Program

The purpose of the Program is to ensure players are: 

  • provided best practice support during periods of transition and in retirement from professional rugby league
  • respected and rewarded for their contribution to professional rugby league
  • provided every opportunity to remain actively connected to the game of rugby league and other players.

The Program delivers certain support to players who have previously held an NRL Top 30, NRLW Top 24, Supplementary List, or Development List Contract, or contract of equivalent status. For the avoidance of doubt, this includes those players who are subsequently playing in other leagues or competitions (e.g. State Cup and Super League) or in other sporting codes. 

RLPA Nines Premier League Team

Sam Thaiday
Josh McGuire
Dale Copley
Clint Newton
Tinirau Arona
Blake Leary
Mitch Rein
Morgan Boyle
Tyson Andrews
Shannon Walker
Chris McQueen
Ben Hannant
Justin Horo
Willie Mason
Ant Mitchell
Dunamis Lui
Jordan Drew
Pele Peletelese
Anthony Don
Staff for the RLPA’s Nines team included Don Singe, Tom Symonds, Keegan Hipgrave, Joe Galuvao

Partner Promotion

Visit our Partners