NRL hardman Russell Packer has used his graduation from UOW this week to urge his fellow rugby league stars to utilise the support available to prepare for life after football.
Packer commenced his studies at UOW in 2015 by studying just one subject before progressing into a Bachelor of Commerce and onto a Graduate Certificate in Business.
Packer utilised the long-running Graduates of League program, the brainchild of former Dragons teammate Ben Creagh, in completing his studies.
“Having been out of academic work since I left school, it was pretty daunting, the support I’ve received has been phenomenal,” Packer said.
Packer’s experience on and off the field means he is regularly called upon to address young players, but he urged all NRL players to seek out similar opportunities in preparation for life after football.
“Every person is different in terms of ability and desire in their academic journey,” Packer said.
“What I can say personally, is that it’s really helped me channel some energy into something outside rugby league.
“Doing courses, whether it’s Tafe, university, apprenticeships… it’s a good way to transition out of the game because there’ll come a time for all of us when we have to do it.
“The biggest thing is realising that the help’s there. If you’ve got a keen interest in something, reach out to your welfare officer, to the NRL education officers.
“Seek out those people and ask for their help because they’re more than willing to give it to you.”