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Posted by RLPA

March 01, 2024

Mead: It’s important that the game looks after past players

In our series ‘Retired Rookies’, we catch up with some of the retiring Class of 2022 to find out what they got up to in their first year out of the game. David Mead shared with us some retirement lessons and thoughts for the current crop of players.

What did you do in the first year of your retirement from NRL?

DM: I got a part-time role with the Brisbane Broncos as a Business Development Executive and I also opened a restaurant in Brisbane.

What do you wish you knew about retirement that you didn’t know when you were playing?

DM: The hardest part was not being around teammates to talk to and compete with. When you leave an environment that has structure, competitiveness and goals at the highest level, it’s hard to replicate it elsewhere.

What would you tell a young player about retirement?

DM: It’s important to maintain a training regime and to continuously build relationships. When you go away from those, life can get tough.

What is an area of growth for the game in regards to player transition?

DM: The game is doing a great job with player transition in terms of physical and financial assistance. One area that could help is better managing expectations (on a mental and emotional level) about how hard retirement can be.

What did you find most difficult about retiring from NRL?

DM: Many players struggle with it, including myself, because our identity is tied to NRL. If you view it as “life is only just getting started” and that professional rugby league was a solid foundation for the rest of your life, everything will be OK.

Why is the RLPA’s new Past Player and Transition Program so important?

DM: The players dedicate their whole life to the game and I think it’s important that the game looks after them until they can get back up on their feet again. Adjusting from that playing lifestyle to another can be difficult and takes time.

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