Experienced forward Aiden Tolman was wholehearted in his efforts on game day, but he also set an example for others to follow off the field throughout the just completed season.
The recipient of the Sharks Wellbeing and Education Excellence Award as announced early in September, Tolman has continued with his studies, where he is working towards completing a Batchelor of Arts and Batchelor of Education double degree, with ambitions to become a schoolteacher once his NRL career comes to an end. Tolman is undertaking his course of study through the Southern Cross University and for his commitment has been named in the NRL’s Academic team for 2021.
As explained by Sharks Welfare and Education Manager Jeff Robson when announcing Tolman as the Sharks award winner, Tolman is the ultimate professional on and off the field.
“He is a smart guy who is self-sufficient and enjoys his studies away from football. It keeps him engaged in preparing for life after footy,” Robson said. “He also has a great work ethic and is an excellent mentor and role model for the entire playing group.”
Tolman’s achievements and dedication on and off the field mirrors the efforts of a number of players, who guided by Robson and the recently departed Amanda King, engage in various study options. They are steered into areas which suit their interests, strengths and future career ambitions, with many involved in studying certificates in fitness, business and youth work, amongst a variety of other courses.
Connor Tracey and Billy Magoulias were both named in the 2020 NRL Academic Team of the Year, Tracey for completing a Bachelor of Accounting and Financial Services degree and Magoulias who graduated from his Wollongong University Business course.
From the education standpoint, many in the Sharks playing group embrace the help they receive, setting themselves up for success away from rugby league, with an estimated 90 per cent of the squad involved in career engagement, which means they are either studying, in work experience or attending TAFE.
Tolman was included in an impressive list of NRL players from across the clubs to be named in the All-Academic team, with Manly’s Tom Trbojevic, this year’s Dally M Player of the Year, scooping the pool in also being chosen as the 2021 NRL Academic Player of the Year
2021 NRL Academic Team of the Year
Tom Trbojevic (Manly Sea Eagles): Completing a Bachelor of Applied Finance with Bachelor of Economics. (Macquarie University)
Joe Stimson (Canterbury Bulldogs): Completing a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education. (Southern Cross University)
Kyle Flanagan (Canterbury Bulldogs): Completing a Bachelor of Construction Management. (Western Sydney University)
Patrick Carrigan (Brisbane Broncos): Completing a Bachelor of Physiotherapy - 3rd year. (University of Queensland)
Mitch Rein (Gold Coast Titans): Completing a Bachelor of Business. (Griffith University)
Aiden Tolman (Cronulla Sharks) Completing a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education. (Southern Cross University)
Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders): Completing a Certificate IV Career Development, completed a Certificate IV Elite Athlete Wellbeing Management. (Career Development Centre)
Shaun Lane (Parramatta Eels): Completing a Graduate Diploma of Psychology, completed a Bachelor of Health Science. (Sydney University)
Mitch Kenny (Penrith Panthers): Completing a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education. (University of Technology, Sydney)
Lindsay Collins (Sydney Roosters): Completing a Bachelor of Business (Property Economics)/Certificate III in Carpentry. (Western Sydney University)
Drew Hutchison (Sydney Roosters): Completing a Bachelor of Education (Primary), completed Cert IV in Small Business. (University of New England)
Brydie Parker (Sydney Roosters): Completing a Bachelor of Exercise Science - Physiotherapy. (Australian Catholic University)
Tarryn Aiken (Brisbane Broncos): Completing Honours, completed Bachelor of Psychology. (Griffith University)