Up-and-coming league stars educated on player welfare

School is out, but for the 400 players who are currently competing at the National Youth Rugby League Nationals, it's back to the playing field.

The Youth Tournament is a stepping stone for players to progress to the U20 Holden Cup National Youth Competition.  

Not only will they partake in the game they love, they'll also benefit from lessons off the field.

By day the young, aspiring U15s and U17s league stars are running the length of Puketawhero Park in Rotorua, but by night they attend compulsory seminars where they are educated on player welfare.

The top topic of this session was Dylan Walker, who was admitted to hospital after over dosing on prescription drugs.

NZRL Well-being Manager, Joe Harawira says “it’s important that we engage with boys at this level, to talk about how to take control of your life and how to make good decisions.” 

Ex kiwi international Henry Fa’afili says “learning is a big process of the whole rugby league scene, back then being a rugby league player was enough back when I was this age we never had anything like this, we probably had to learn it the hard way.”

"Things on this pathway can happen so quickly, what I mean by that is we had some players sitting in this very room last year and within six weeks they had relocated to Sydney," Harawira adds.

Te Kāea reporter, Te Aorere Pēwhairangi will have more on this story tonight at 5:30pm.