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Player Welfare & Education


The WelfEd Team

Quentin Pongia is the Sea Eagles' Welfare & Education Manager.

He delivers a cohesive and comprehensive Welfare & Education program to Sea Eagles players, from NRL through to Harold Matthews Under 16's.    

The ultimate goal and vision of success for the WelfEd Program is:

The WelfEd Vision

“to turn talented boys into men of character and integrity; men who are all the better for having been part of Rugby League.”

The WelfEd Program

NRL WelfEd Initiatives:

•       CharacterWise:

•       Rookie Camp – this is a compulsory three-day camp for every player in the NYC. It is designed to introduce players to the NRL values of Excellence, Inclusiveness, Courage and Teamwork. Delivered by subject matter experts and co-facilitated by ex-players, it includes extensive training in media, cultural awareness, drugs and alcohol, financial management, social responsibility, respectful relationships and personal presentation.

•       Social Responsibility – presentations have been developed by industry experts are delivered to all grades and include subjects such as alcohol management, respectful relationships, illicit drugs, player management, social media, personal branding and cultural awareness.

•       CareerWise:

•       Career Coaching – a qualified and experienced Career Coach is employed by each club across all 16 NRL clubs to help players plan for life after sport. Delivered to players across all grades, the CareerWise Program aims to help players make well-informed choices about their future careers and includes study, work, work experience, volunteer work and networking.

•       Graduates of League program – an NRL funded program for university students that provides mentoring, tuition and financial support. Created to encourage NRL and NYC players to enrol AND complete their chosen courses.

•       Trade Up with the NRL – an apprentice mentoring program established in partnership with the Department of Industry and Innovation, Matt Ballin and Gino Moore are the Manly Apprentice Mentors. Collaborating with business owners and tradespeople to ensure our players complete their trades, Matt and Gino also influence flexibility for our Sea Eagles to work, train and play. 

•       No Work, No Study, NO PLAY – the NRL is serious about the importance of a balanced approach to sport, study and work. This policy has been mandated since 2008 and means all NYC under 20 players must work and/or study a minimum of 24 hours a week to be eligible to play. Training is also not able to be scheduled between the hours of 8am and 5pm.

•       Education Grants – any NRL or NYC player who engages in any form of study is eligible to apply for a study grant. Funded by the NRL and RLPA, 2.5 million dollars is available per annum.

•       HealthWise:

•       State of Mind workshop – a powerful presentation based on Preston Campbell’s story helps educate players across all grades on the importance of understanding depression and anxiety, it’s symptoms and how to seek help for themselves or someone they care about.

•       Employee Assistance Program – delivered by Davidson Trahaire Corpsyche the NRL offers a free, confidential and highly credentialed counselling service to players and their families across NRL, NYC and State League teams.

•       Retirement Program – coordinated by the Men of League, the retirement program offers counselling support, financial assistance (particularly for education) and lifelong career coaching to retired players.

•       Men of League Foundation – a strong network of retired rugby league players who are committed to the ongoing wellbeing and engagement of NRL players – they stay connected, create a sense of family and lend support to players after retirement.

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles WelfEd Initiatives:

•       Player Mentoring Program – the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Player Mentoring Program is another great initiative to help create meaningful and relevant opportunities for players to realise their after-footy dreams. The primary objective is to build positive, empowering and well-connected relationships between players and mentors who are exceptional in their respective fields. To date two social events have been held to foster relationships by bringing mentors and players together in a relaxed and sociable environment.

•       Leadership Program – a series of three leadership & captaincy workshops designed specifically for the captain and vice-captains of the Sea Eagles NYC team. With a primary goal to nurture innate leadership capabilities of each player, it also encouraged them step into the role of captaincy with authenticity and confidence.  A request has been made for this series to also be delivered to the Under 18 and Under 16 captains and vice-captains.

•       Values Workshop – an interactive and experiential workshop based on the NRL values of Excellence, Inclusiveness, Courage and Teamwork, this workshop encouraged under 18 players to think about how they could responsibly represent themselves, their team, the club and the NRL more broadly off the field.

•       Apprentice Mentoring Event – a game-based dinner in the Community Lounge to thank the tradespeople and business owners who employ our young Sea Eagles and allow them the flexibility needed to work, train and play rugby league. 

•       Media Training – a group of 10 NRL players participated in a series of four 3-hour workshops that helped develop skills in responding confidently to questions from the media, fans and the general public. The improvement in poise and authenticity, along with the ability to clearly communicate relevant information, was significant.

•       LTrent Driving Lessons – a mutually beneficial relationship has been established between the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and LTrent Driving School. A range of discounted (10% off) Learner Driver Options is offered to players, members and their families. For more information please contact Stephen O’Sullivan on 0433 878 924.

•       In-house Classrooms – currently we have two Certificate IV programs being delivered to players in-house. One is a Certificate IV in Fitness through Study Group (6 players) and the other a Certificate IV in Community and Recreation (7 players) being delivered by Australian Training Company.

•       Sea Eagles Students & Apprentices – of our NRL and NYC squads, the 2014 tertiary year sees 18 Sea Eagles at university, 1 doing a Diploma, 13 studying Certificate IVs, 8 engaged in trades and 1 player is still at high school.