NRL's Academic Team of the Year announced
The dedication of players away from the football field was recognised on Tuesday night with 13 players announced as members of the 2018 Academic Team of the Year at the RLPA Players' Champion Awards.
Highlighted for their academic achievements were the Bulldogs' Aiden Tolman, the Roosters' Isaac Liu, Cronulla's Jayson Bukuya, Canberra's Dunamis Lui, the Warriors' Simon Mannering, the Cowboys' Michael Morgan, the Panthers' Dylan Edwards, the Eels' David Gower, the Titans' Dale Copley, the Broncos' Korbin Sims, Melbourne's Ryley Jacks, South Sydney's Cameron Murray and Broncos women's player Kody House.
NRL wellbeing and engagement manager Tony McFadyen said it became harder each year to narrow the field to 13 winners.
"All 13 players that have been recognised are well-deserving recipients of this award," McFadyen said.
"The award encompasses a lot - it's about recognising what they do on the field, their hard work, the sacrifices they make and the respect they have among their playing group, while the other side of it being their committed and dedication to their studies.
"There are so many players that are doing amazing things off the field so it's very difficult to narrow it down to only 13 as we would love to shout from the rooftops what all of our players are doing."
Titans centre Dale Coley, who is completing his honours in his Bachelor of Law degree, was crowned the NRL Academic Player of the Year.
"What he is doing is amazing and he is definitely leading the way for our players," McFadyen said of Copley.
"He is a very intelligent man, he actually started in pharmacy before switching to law where he's since found his grove.
"There is no easy pathway through university so it's outstanding to see his commitment to his studies."
This was the first year that the RLPA and the NRL formally introduced the Women's Academic Player of the Year Award.
Broncos centre Kody House claimed that accolade, currently undertaking a Bachelor of Sports Exercise Science while being a qualified diesel mechanic and personal trainer.
"The women in our game definitely deserve to be recognised for all the things they are doing both on and off the field and it was great that we were able to recognise Kody this year," McFadyen said.
"Hopefully in the future we are able to recognised more women and have a whole team.
"I think it's something in the future that will organically grow as they are doing so much while working as well."