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Kelly backs rewarding new career for aspiring players

Harvey Norman NSW Sky Blue Isabelle Kelly has thrown her weight behind a new course - the NSWRL’s disAbility Careers program - aimed at providing Rugby League players an opportunity to pursue a rewarding career in the disability services sector.

Her brother, former Berkley Vale Panthers winger-centre Jack Kelly, has signed on for the program. The NSWRL has 20 fully-funded places available.

Jack already has traction in the sector as a support worker for the domestic assistance disability company, Making Footprints.

“I thought it might be good for me to get these further sorts of qualifications and help my own self-development along the way,” he told

“This would be my first tertiary-level study and I wanted to test myself with that.”

The NSWRL disAbility Careers program has been designed in partnership with Ability First Australia, Northcott Disability Services, and the University of New England (UNE).

Jack, 24, no longer plays but coaches the women’s tackle team in Maitland – the Aberglasslyn Ants.

He will combine studies with his coaching duties.

“As I go through the course I might see areas where I think I’d be best suited,” he said.

“Eventually I want to be a support co-ordinator.”

Older sibling Isabelle, who was the NSWRL’s Women’s State of Origin Player of the Year in 2022, said she admired her brother for taking on the disAbility Careers program.

“I think this is a great opportunity for anyone out there juggling footy, or coaching, who wants to improve their employment opportunities with a course like this,” she said.

 “I’m proud of Jack because I know he’s passionate about the disability space and has a chance to further develop his skills.

“I’d encourage any player out there who’s looking for a new opportunity to give this a go."

Many Rugby League players – even NRL club-contracted players - often struggle to find meaningful and flexible employment to supplement and complement their income, while pursuing their sporting dreams.

The disability services sector is one of the largest and fastest-growing in Australia with 4.4 million, or one in every five people, living with some type of disability.

The disability sector has a diverse range of rewarding career pathway post-football, including social work, allied health, or service leadership.

For more information, or to enrol in the program, please email 

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