NRL boss Todd Greenberg says more needs to be done to support the mental health and wellbeing of its players after they leave the game after NRL legend Greg Inglis checked into a rehabilitation facility as he struggled to adjust to life after league.
Greenberg visited the Canberra Raiders this weekend as he continues his tour of all 16 NRL clubs around the country and across the ditch with player wellbeing and off-field behaviour high on his agenda.
He spent time with the Raiders board, CEO Don Furner, coach Ricky Stuart and the senior players, before attending the Raiders clash with the Cowboys on Saturday (25 May).
The NRL CEO said he was using his visits with each club to address NRL’s off-season which was marred by a string of off-field indiscretions.
“These visits were designed for us to continue to engage with our clubs,” he told the gathered media on Friday afternoon (24 May). “The rugby league world is not based in Sydney, or at Moore Park, or in the NRL’s office. It is within the country and within our regions.
“I am not doing presentations to players. It is not me talking at players; it is me talking with players.
“We are in the entertainment business and I am forever talking to our players about the importance and obligations they have, not just about the way they play the game but the way they conduct themselves off the field.
“To be frank, we have had a difficult off-season so I am making sure I take the opportunity when I look into the whites of the eyes of our players to make sure they understand their obligations.”
Canberra’s leadership group – led by co-captains Jarrod Croker and Josh Hodgson – and senior players were keen to discuss with Greenberg what the NRL had planned for players transitioning into life after football in the wake of the former South Sydney captain’s struggles.
Greenberg says the NRL is planning to introduce more programs to assist players in making the move from the regimented life of a footballer to a more normal lifestyle.
“This was one of the topics we spoke about with the Raiders senior players. We spoke about some of the additional work we are planning now around transition for the players in the last part of their careers.
“We have to do this across all paths of our playing group and we have got to make sure that we continue to invest in this part but also make it really meaningful for players so that it actually helps them transition.
“The end of a player’s career is not the end, it’s actually the start of their next journey so we need to change our language around that.”