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Posted by RLPA

March 08, 2024

Williams: It isn’t all doom and gloom

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. Sam Williams 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?

SW: I took time off to spend with my family before working in sports data at Racing and Sports, which is a company based out of Canberra.

I also became a sideline commentator with the ABC for all of the Canberra Raiders home games, which has been unreal and led to more with the ABC. I also was captain/coach of the Queanbeyan Kangaroos and still play, so fair to say I was busy.

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

SW: I did feel I was given a fair idea of what to expect and have had plenty of help but each individual is different and life experience is more important than anything else you can be taught.

What would you tell a young player about retirement?

SW: It isn’t all doom and gloom. The biggest thing I have found is there are so many opportunities outside of rugby league once you aren’t committed to being a player.

Enjoy your time as a player, but enjoy retirement by pursuing things not available when you are full time and enjoy the next chapter.

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

SW: I’m confident we’re heading in the right direction. I do think players have so much knowledge to pass onto grassroots football that a closer link to grassroots footy would be a massive benefit for the game as a whole, and the player to not have to have such an abrupt finish to rugby league.

What did you find most difficult about retiring from NRL?

SW: The main thing one is the ability and time to be mobile and outside, it comes with the job as a footballer. It’s important to make the time to be active so I try to do it through team sport but if you’re working inside and you have a family, time can be scarce.

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

SW: It shows the player is more than just a commodity and the care is still there. Not every player has the same issues but just to know there is help from people who genuinely care is nice to know.

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