Former Sharks Prop Adam Peek is doing his part to educate young players on the importance of establishing a life after football.
Having competed in the NRL for twelve seasons, Peek is now employed by the NRL in a part-time mentoring role; helping budding talents to look at the bigger picture for when their playing days should come to an end.
On top of his work at the NRL, Peek juggles fatherhood and a driving job at Botany wharfs. The 37-year-old knows all too well the feeling of ‘long’ day.
“Some of these young boys now, especially in the 20’s comp (National Youth Competition), they’re putting in long days on the tools and then coming to training,” said Peek.
“They’re here (training) for two or three hours, they’re getting home late. It must be hard for them, and I understand that.
“That’s just one of the reasons why I’m involved in the program, trying to help the young boys. Some handle it better than others.”
The NRL journeyman had signed nine one-year deals throughout his career, and the highs of playing in the premier competition were met with some disheartening lows.
“I’m just there to help out if they want to have a chat. I like being around the boys, it keeps me young,” he said.
“That’s one of the reasons I’m involved as well, I want to let the guys know that they’re not by themselves. I went through that myself.
“It’s been documented that some of the young guys coming through the grades have had issues with mental health.”
The NYC’s ‘No Work, No Study, No Play’ policy ensures the Under 20’s must have an apprenticeship, work a minimum of 24 hours or be involved in full time study.
Having balanced professional football with a life on the tools himself, Peek says the policy stands to serve the juniors well.
“It’s good to have something outside of footy. I worked through my career, some years through necessity,” said Peek.
“I worked within the building industry through my career. It was just something that I got into. I enjoyed it, it kept me busy, and it kept me out of trouble.
“I think I played better footy when I had outside interests and I wasn’t concentrating on playing 24 hours a day.”
Although crediting the mentor program and its positive impacts to date, Peek admits it is a challenging task to sway the thinking of young players to look ahead to a life beyond Rugby League.
“Yeah it is, and I know that as a young bloke, I was in that situation,” said Peek.
“There’s going to be times when they don’t want to do it, there’s going to be times when they want to throw it in, but just look at the bigger picture.
“Footy is obviously their main focus, but I guess if they look ahead, they can realise they may have a long and successful career after their playing days.
“If I can help out one or two guys – job done.”
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Go to www.coateshire.com.au and click on the Sharks icon or go to the link below for more information and to access the code to take advantage of a special 2 for 1 Tradies ticket offer for Monday night’s game.
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