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iSelect Titans front-rower Mitch Sharp was today chosen in the NRL’s National Youth League Academic Team of the Year, announced in Sydney.

The 19-year-old Sharp has not only been in fine form for our Holden Cup side that has won three of their past three home matches, he has shown great discipline and commitment off the field.

He is studying nursing at Griffith University as part of the Graduates of League program and also works as a plumber’s assistant to put himself through university, and finds time to train with the Titans under-20s three evenings a week.

“I am honoured and humbled to be selected in the first NYC Academic team of the year,” Sharp, who turns 20 next month, said.

“It is great to be recognised not only as a rugby league player but as a person who has achieved results off the field. I would also like to thank the NRL for their support with introducing the ‘NRL Graduates of League program’; the tutoring I have received for my university degree this year has been of a great help.”

NRL-RLPA welfare and education committee spokesman Mark Coyne said that education and workplace training was important for progression in the workforce.

 “We have a wonderful group of incredibly successful NRL players here today who have shown that both commitment to the game and study are achievable,” Coyne said.

 “Not only are these players a credit to themselves but are also an inspiration to all other young players showing that they too can balance further studies and a rugby league career.

 “I would like to congratulate not only Holden Cup players who have achieved a place on the team today, but all Holden Cup players who are part of the game’s new generation committing to both a career in football and further studies.”

Academic Team of the Year recipient Brent Tate said that he could not emphasise importance of work place training and study.

“For me I having a conversation with Wayne Bennett a few years ago I realised the importance of getting an education,” Tate said.

“It was not long after that I realised I had to start the wheels in motion in terms of studying. As a result, I am feeling more prepared to enter the workforce when I approach the back end of my career.”

The NRL-RLPA education program highlights include:

·         78 per cent (800) of NRL and NYC players are engaged in further education or workplace training. The NRL is committed to growing that to 84 per cent by 2017.

·         220 players were enrolled in a university degree at the start of the 2014 season which is an increase from the 68 players that enrolled in the 2008 season.

·         24 per cent of Indigenous players in the Holden Cup are attending university.

·         Currently 18 academic institutions deliver the NRL’s Graduates of League program. The completion rate of all players attempting university courses has increased from 60 per cent to 87 per cent in just two years.

·         330 players from junior representative teams, NYC, State Cups and the NRL undertaking apprenticeship are mentored by current and former NRL players.

·         There have been 350 education grants provided to players in the 2014 season from the NRL/ RLPA education fund totalling over $450,000.


Broncos         Todd Lowrie              Cert IV in Project Management &

Cert IV in small business

Bulldogs        Dale Finucane         Bachelor of Health and Movement

Raiders          David Shillington     Bachelor of Business

                                                            Diploma of Business                      

Cowboys       Brent Tate                  Cert iv Frontline Management

                                                            Cert iv Small Business

Sea Eagles   Tom Symonds          Graduated Bachelor of Health and Exercise Science   

Sea Eagles   Brenton Lawrence   Bachelor of Arts in International studies (completed Certificates III and IV in Training & Level 2 Coaching

Storm              Ryan Hoffman          Bachelor of Business

Knights          Robbie Rochow       Degree in Civil Engineering

Panthers        Jeremy Latimore       Bachelor of Commerce

                                                            Panthers Education Ambassador

Panthers        Ryan Simpkins         Diploma in Hydraulics Design

                                                            Qualified Plumber

Rabbitohs      Jason Clark               Cert III Fitness and Cert IV in Small Business

Dragons         Jason Nightingale   Bachelor of Business Degree

                                                            International NRL Player

Warriors         Siliva Havili               Bachelor of Health Science – Podiatry



Bulldogs        Adam Elliott               Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy)

Raiders          Andrew Heffernan   Bachelor of Sports Coaching & Exercise Science

Cowboys       Corey Jensen           Degree in Sport & Exercise Science

Titans             Mitch Sharp              Bachelor of Nursing

Sea Eagles   Jack Delaney            Bachelor of Business & Commerce

Storm              Christian Welch       Bachelor Commerce degree

Knights          Lachlan Fitzgibbon Bachelor of Construction Management

Panthers        Joshjua Tangitau     Degree in Exercise Sports Science

Sharks           Ben Chahoud          Carpentry Apprenticeship                           

Rabbitohs      Cheyne Whitelaw    Bachelor of Exercise Physiology

Dragons         Adam Clune            Degree in Law

Warriors         Mason Lino              Bachelor of Business

Wests Tigers Nathan Milone         Bachelor of Business UTS



Broncos         Aaron Rockley



 (Proudly sponsored by the NRL and Diamond Galleria)

Warriors         Jerome Ropati

Bulldogs        Sam Perrett

Acknowledgement of Country

Gold Coast Titans proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.