This strategic partnership is expected to provide more NRL players with the opportunity to develop post-football careers with the Graduates of League, an extensive athlete education program in Australian sport.
The University of Western Sydney is the fifth university to become a part of the NRL Graduates of League Program, along with the University of Wollongong, James Cook University, Griffith University and ACPE.
University of Western Sydney Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Corporate Strategy and Services, Rhonda Hawkins was excited with this development;
The NRL is setting the benchmark for sporting codes in Australia in terms of their commitment to the ongoing education and development of their players beyond the sporting field she said.
The Graduates of League program aims to increase university entry of elite athletes along with retention and completion of their studies.
The selection process for the team is mainly based on a players performance along with commitment and progress in an educational program in preparation for a post-football career.
The team features players from every club in the NRL competition, varying from those studying sports science and financial planning to graphic design and carpentry.
This was a special occasion for the Pirtek Parramatta Eels, who were delighted to have club captain Tim Mannah named on the team.
Parramatta great Luke Burt, a member of the 2012 Academic Team, was present at the celebrations on campus to interview Tim. When asking how it felt to a part of the team, Mannah answered;
Its a real honour. The NRL does such a good job these days to create great pathways and opportunities for players to further their education.
Im grateful for the opportunities and for the staff we have at our club, he said.
Tim is currently studying a Bachelors of Sports Business degree with ACPE. He is expecting to graduate halfway through 2014.
The 2013 NRL-RLPA Academic Team of the Year:
Ben Henry - New Zealand Warriors
Tim Mannah - Parramatta Eels
Ray Thompson - North Queensland Cowboys
Ashley Harrison - Gold Coast Titans
Robbie Rochow - Newcastle Knights
David Williams - Manly Sea Eagles
David Stagg - Brisbane Broncos
Roy Asotasi - South Sydney Rabbitohs
Shaun Fensom - Canberra Raiders
Ryan Hoffman - Melbourne Storm
Josh Jackson - Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Dan Hunt - St George Illawarra Dragons
Nathan Fien - St George Illawarra Dragons
Cameron Ciraldo - Penrith Panthers
Ben Ross - Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
Daniel Mortimer - Sydney Roosters
Joel Reddy - West Tigers