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Beyond the oval

A training program between TAFE NSW and the St George Illawarra Dragons football club is giving rookie players a back-up career path beyond the world of football.

A training program between TAFE NSW and the St George Illawarra Dragons football club is giving rookie players a back-up career path beyond the world of football.

With the game now more competitive than ever before, players who dream of a career as a professional player need an alternative career path. The all-or-nothing proposition of high stakes football means that many players retire in their mid-thirties with little or no experience in anything else.

 The recently-launched program between TAFE NSW and the Dragons club, called the Playwise Training Program, is showing rookie players that it's possible to aim for a career on the oval while still training for a vocation. Rookie players participate in training sessions at Wollongong TAFE is areas as diverse as carpentry, painting and decorating, hospitality and community services.

"From my time in football, I know of many players who made lots of money, but when they finished football lost direction and blew it all," TAFE NSW carpentry and building teacher, Brett McCroary told the Illawarra Mercury. "It may be a cliché, but it happens. A grogram like this is for their future. The rookies need to have something after they finish league."