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NRL and RLPA announce 2022 Academic Team of the Year

The National Rugby League (NRL) and RLPA is pleased to announce the 2022 Academic Team of the Year which recognises the off-field educational achievements of 13 current NRL and NRLW players throughout the 2022 season.

As the game invests heavily in professional development, the annual Academic Team of the Year helps inspire and empower all rugby league players to further their education.

In addition, the NRL and RLPA will also recognise two Academic Achievement Awards – one male and one female player – which will be presented on Sunday to acknowledge the highest off-field wellbeing and educational achievements on Grand Final Day.

Eels captain Clint Gutherson, who will lead his side against the Panthers in this year’s NRL Grand Final, headlines the team which includes nine NRL players and four NRLW players.

Player Club Education
Tom Eisenhuth Storm Masters in Education at Australian Catholic University
Andrew Fifita Sharks Diploma of Counselling in NSW TAFE
Emma Tonegato Dragons Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at Australian Catholic University
Lachlan Croker Sea Eagles Bachelor of Criminology & Criminal Justice at Griffith University
Adam Doueihi Wests Tigers Bachelor of Arts/Global Studies at Australian Catholic University
Brendan Elliott Cowboys Master of Cyber Security at Griffith University
Georgia Page Knights Masters Osteopathic Medicine at University of Newcastle
Hymel Hunt Knights Diploma of Finance Mortgage Brokering at MYFENG
Rhys Kennedy Broncos Masters of Clinical Exercise Physiology at Australian Catholic University
Clint Gutherson Eels Certificate IV in Fitness at Australian College of Sport & Fitness
Tyrell Fuimaono Dragons Cert IV in Building and Construction at Masters in Building and Construction Training
Wayde Egan Warriors Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University
Jocelyn Kelleher Roosters Bachelor of High Performance Sport at Australian Catholic University

NRL Wellbeing and Education Manager Paul Heptonstall said the Academic Team of the Year was incredibly important in highlighting the career development of the game’s NRL and NRLW players.

“At the NRL, we’re extremely proud of the players in this team as they are inspiring the next generation of rugby league players in demonstrating that they do not have to choose between a professional sporting career and the pursuit of other career goals,” Heptonstall said.

“The NRL and the RLPA have worked very hard to ensure that players have dedicated careers coaches at every club, mandated time off during the training week for other career pursuits and a pool of education grants to invest in any study program.

“We are pleased to say that over 80 percent of our players are currently engaged in some career preparation activity, and we look forward to that number increasing further in the years to come.”

"It is hugely impressive that, despite the continuing increases in training and playing demands for players, that this group has shown such resolute commitment to their career development,” Rugby League Players’ Association Players Operations Manager Jamie Buhrer added. “Throughout the year they have remained engaged in their academic studies and have separated themselves from an impressive list of worthy recipients across both the NRL and NRLW playing groups.

"On behalf of the RLPA, I congratulate each player in the 2022 Academic Team of the Year, as we rightly celebrate their academic achievements." 

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.