He’s taken the road less travelled to a future NRL career, but NSWRL employee Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck has been recognised for his achievements off the field.

The Sydney Roosters rookie, who plays on the wing for the club’s Holden Cup outfit, has completed a Cert IV in Graphic Design and is currently studying a Filmakers Intensive, leading to his employment with the NSWRL as a graphic designer this season. At the Rugby League Players’ Association Awards last night, he was named in the NYC Academic Team Of The Year as an acknowledgement of his hard work.

“I definitely double-checked when they said I was named in the Academic Team Of The Year,” Tuivasa-Sheck told NSWRL.com.au. “I definitely didn’t think I’d be awarded it, but I’m honoured to get that award.”

With a surname that is known well in Rugby League circles – Johnny’s older brother Roger has represented New Zealand on 11 occasions, won an NRL premiership and was the Dally M Winger of the Year in 2013 – Tuivasa-Sheck is determined to become a star in his own right for the Roosters - and eventually the Kiwis. While the Holden Cup requirement of full-time work or study can be a challenge for some players, the 20-year-old has enjoyed both working in and playing the Greatest Game Of All.

“Just working next to Paul Langmack and around legends of the game has been great,” Tuivasa-Sheck said. “They walk past my desk, give me advice and I just keep learning a lot.

“The NSWRL has made my transition going into work a lot smoother because everyone understands a footy player’s schedule. They’ve been very helpful with that.”

Tuivasa-Sheck has impressed on the flank with 11 tries for the Roosters this year, recently earning him a full-time NRL contract for 2017. While the achievement puts him one step closer towards his NRL dream, the destructive winger has his sights set on Holden Cup victory this year.

“I think the main goal is to hopefully make that starting side next year for the Sydney Roosters,” the East Tamaki junior said. “But because our Under-20s team is still in the comp, my goal for now is knocking out the Cronulla Sharks in that Semi Final.”

The Roosters take on the Sharks in a do-or-die clash on Saturday night at GIO Stadium, as Tuivasa-Sheck attempts to finish his Holden Cup career on a high.