Bulldogs first round of Extend the Dream Graduates
July 13, 2012
Bulldogs Media release
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs players Steve Turner, Dene Halatau and David Stagg – together with recently retired team mates Andrew Ryan and Brad Morrin – have this week become the first Australian-based players to graduate from a groundbreaking welfare program designed to prepare players for their post-playing lives.
Called ‘Live the Dream, Extend the Dream’, the program is facilitated by change specialist consultancy newheadspace and is run in with the support and backing of the Australian Rugby League Commission. Born in response to reports in the media about the struggles of athletes with life after sport, ‘Live the Dream, Extend the Dream’ works in conjunction with sporting clubs and codes to better prepare those currently playing for everything that lays beyond their on-field careers.
“Extend the Dream is highly individualised and begins while the player is still active,” Chief Head of newheadspace, Jhanna Culver said. The program succeeds because it focuses on all aspects of a professional athlete’s life, not just their ‘next career’. We recognise the individual circumstances, challenges and strengths of each player and provide them with appropriate and sustainable skills and tools to take with them in to their future. Fundamentally, we reframe retirement as an exciting new chapter in their life. For any senior professional athlete, retiring is so much more than just obtaining a new career.”
The program got its start in Auckland in 2011, with New Zealand Warriors Michael Luck, Jacob Lillyman and Jerome Ropati the first NRL footballers to successfully achieve Extend the Dream preparations.
For Turner, Stagg, Halatau, Ryan and Morrin – who boast a combined total of 845 NRL matches – it was an opportunity to discuss and refine their post NRL ambitions, to identify practical and emotional challenges, as well as formulating strategic frameworks that will allow them to take meaningful steps forward.
“The program was immensely helpful for us as players, and as people,” Turner says. “While the three of us still playing see ourselves on the field for some time to come, Extend the Dream gave us the tools to look to the future with a sense of purpose and drive. I’ve used some of the things I learnt in my work with the NSWRL Western Sydney Academy, and also in diversifying what I do around the Club. I am now far more involved in digital and traditional media, community work, and getting involved in the corporate side of things. Now I’m unfortunately out for the season through injury I’ve found the lessons to take on even more relevance.”
Thursday’s graduation ceremony was attended by ARLC chief executive officer David Gallop, Rugby League Players Association chief executive David Garnsey, Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg, and Bulldogs head coach Des Hasler. Former NRL leading point scorer and Bulldogs great Daryl Halligan – who turned his time as a player into highly successful media and specialist coaching roles post-retirement – filled the role of guest speaker.
“We are keen to support all of our players and their move in to their new phase once leaving the NRL, newheadspace are invaluable partner for helping our players achieve a successful transition off the field ” Mr Gallop said.