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Posted by RLPA

May 06, 2024

Keep Fit Keep Connected events relaunch in Australia and NZ

Across two countries and seven locations, the first round of the revamped Keep Fit Keep Connected events were successfully held over the past month.

As part of the Rugby League Players Associations new Past Player & Transition Program, the Keep Fit Keep Connected events are aimed at getting together previously contracted NRL and NRLW players.

The Keep Fit Keep Connected initiative involves past players meeting for a fitness session and breakfast or coffee. The initiative provides an opportunity for players to connect with each other as well as to learn more about the services and support available in the Past Player and Transition Program.

During seven events in Sydney, Wollongong, Auckland and Southeast Queensland, over 50 past players joined the RLPA’s Joe Galuvao, Keegan Hipgrave and Tom Symonds to take part in sessions of Keep Fit Keep Connected. The fitness sessions ranged from gym and functional fitness to running and Pilates.

“The demand has been very strong since launching the Past Player & Transition Program, particularly for events and opportunities to connect with fellow past players,” said Tom Symonds, the RLPA’s General Manager of Past Players and Transition.

“The RLPA has long advocated the need for increased support and services for players in retirement and periods of transition. Pleasingly past players have been really excited about the initiatives now on offer.”

“It has been great to see dozens of past players get together for Keep Fit Keep Connected, and the feedback has been incredibly positive. The opportunity to re-engage in physical training has been well received, as has enjoying some banter and a coffee with old mates. We know that for many players, establishing a regular exercise routine has a positive impact on their transition and overall wellbeing.”

“We are confident even more past players will attend the next round of events. We have over 900 players amongst the Program’s alumni, and we are looking forward to growing our events calendar and range of initiatives on offer.”

The Eastern Suburbs event was held the morning of a Sydney downpour in Centennial Park; however, a strong group of a dozen past players were determined to brave the conditions.

“It would have been pretty easy to stay in bed this morning with the weather,” said former NRL player Nick Youngquest who hosted the run club.

“But it was so good to see the guys get out and get together. I think it is a testament to the Past Player & Transition Program led by Tom Symonds and everything they’re doing around connection.”

“We had a walking and a running group, and everyone stuck around after for a coffee and a feed after, so it was good times.”

Former NRL player Ruben Wiki, who hosted the gym session event in Auckland, praised the Keep Fit Keep Connected program.

“It was very successful, and it was great to catch up with all the boys that I used to run on the field with and gone to war with,” said Ruben.

“I am looking forward to the next couple of sessions during the year, and hopefully we will get more ex-players coming to this initiative. It’s a great one and it keeps us connected and it is great for our wellness.”

Brayden Wiliame, who attended the Keep Fit Keep Connected event hosted by Ruben Wiki, was excited about the opportunities to grow the events and bring together more past players.

“It was awesome to connect and share ideas around how we can grow this idea and better support each other,” said Brayden.

“To know that I have got support from not only the Warriors family, but the RLPA as well is a cool feeling. To have access to all those resources is something that I know down the track I am going to need to lean on.”

“Thank you to the RLPA, thank you to Joe Galuvao for coming out, and thank you to everyone running the Past Player & Transition Program.”

In the next phase of Keep Fit Keep Connected beginning in May, the past player events will be expanded into new locations including Newcastle, Townsville and Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

The initiative had existed as part of the previous Transition Program managed by the NRL/RLPA Wellbeing and Education Program, and there was an opportunity to make significant improvement to its success with increased promotion, regular scheduling and increased buy-in from past players stemming from general engagement in the RLPA’s Past Player & Transition Program.

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