The Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) and the Men of League Foundation will officially partner up for the first time in history – joining forces to raise awareness and promote the assistance that is available to the rugby league community.
The RLPA and Men of League Foundation will collaborate on a range of projects, with the partnership based on the principles of information sharing, reciprocity of benefits and acknowledging the important role each party has in the industry.
The partnership will also look to eliminate the gap between the support available for retiring players through the transition program and members of the Men of League Foundation.
From this year onward, each retiring NRL player will automatically become a Bronze Men of League Foundation Member under the partnership.
RLPA Chief Executive Ian Prendergast said he looked forward to collaborating further with the Men of League Foundation.
“The Men of League Foundation plays such an integral role within the Rugby League community, so it’s with great excitement that we announce this new partnership,” Mr Prendergast said.
“One of the key outcomes that we are looking to achieve is to raise awareness within our current membership of the incredible contribution that the Men of League Foundation provides to not only past players – but the entire rugby league community.
“It’s important that we bridge the gap between players leaving the game through to those who have a genuine connection with opportunities to help and support others.
“Men of League Foundation are also there for past players who fall on hard times beyond their transition out of the NRL.
“The current transition program offers support for players up to five years post-career, but it’s important that players are aware that they are not alone after that period, but that support is available through the Men of League Foundation.
“We look forward to strengthening the relationship between the RLPA and the Men of League Foundation through this new partnership and promoting their outstanding work within the community.”
Men of League Foundation CEO, Stephen Lowndes is most excited about the partnership also.
“The RLPA is such a great platform to get the message out to current and recently retired players as to just what the Men of League Foundation does to support the broader rugby league community, including those retired elite players, men, women, and children who may need some support at some point in their lives,” Mr Lowndes stated.
“It is a natural extension of the support network that the RLPA already provides to current and transitioning players, and their families.
“There are some very practical and effective things the two organisations can do to build awareness within the rugby league community, and to create effective pathways to support those men, women and children of the rugby league family who are facing hardship and need assistance.
“Having elite players transitioning to retirement come on board as Bronze Members, knowing what the Foundation is about, will really help us to connect with those in need.”
The RLPA and Men of League Foundation will begin developing further initiatives that will grow the partnership between the two organisations and will promote the assistance available to the rugby league community.