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The NSWRL will hold its first ever ‘Semi-Pro Day’ this weekend for 244 players and staff of the VB NSW Cup.

‘Semi-Pro Day’ is aimed at recognising, educating and celebrating the players of the second-tier competition and equipping them with the appropriate knowledge to guide them through their careers.

An initiative of NSWRL Welfare and Education Officer, Greg Nichols, the players will be taken through classes in Mental Health and Depression, ASADA and Integrity and Theatre Sports, which places the players in real life scenarios that they may encounter as a professional Rugby League player.

Nichols, also a former VB NSW Cup player with the North Sydney Bears, believes ‘Semi-Pro Day’ will be highly beneficial to the players and staff of the competition.

“These players have never received this kind of access and support before and we want to help them realize that they’re not alone in their quest to become NRL players,” Nichols said.

“It’s such a tough pathway to make it to the NRL and most guys in their position have full-time jobs, heavy training loads and also have to deal with the off-field responsibilities of everyday life.”

NRL Player Welfare and Education Programs Manager, Andrew Ryan, was adamant that the time was right to embrace the whole of game approach to education and welfare.

“For the last few years we’ve been running ‘Rookie Camps’ for the younger players and with the whole of game approach towards welfare and education, all of the players from the VB NSW Cup will now be involved in these activities and I hope they get a real kick out of it,” Ryan said.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a 20’s player, a second-tier player or an NRL player, it’s important that we all receive the same teaching and training to equip ourselves with the necessary skills to handle being a professional Rugby League player.”

Semi-Pro Day will kick-off at Rugby League Central on Saturday, January 31st, with the first classes beginning at 8:30am.