By PARKER TAMBUA
THE role of a health and wellbeing officer at the SP Hunters is important as it helps players prepare for life after football, according to an official.
Assistant coach Paul Aiton said last week that fans in Papua New Guinea always looked up to the Kumuls and Hunters.
But the former Cronulla Sharks and Penrith Panthers rake said players needed to balance rugby league with education as it was important.
“Last year was the first time the Hunters had a health and wellbeing officer,” Aiton said.
“If you go to England, France or Australia, clubs have such an official, so this is good for Papua New Guinea rugby league.
“Rugby league may be the future of our players, but we must know that 99 per cent of our lives is spent outside the game.
“You are not on the field all day.
“We spend about an hour at training. For the rest of the day, you have other things to worry about like family and money.
“We are all human and we have our own problems, so that is where a health and wellbeing officer comes in.
“The other thing is, in PNG, you can play with the Kumul or in the Digicel Cup for many years, but what is next when you finish rugby league?
“We hold these players in high regard, but many of them don’t have any education when they finish playing rugby league.
“So having courses and getting an education through the Hunters programme is good.
“Rugby league is good, you get to represent your country, you play week in, week out with the Hunters, but you need something to fall back on after that.
“It’s good to have other things happening.
“It’s healthy to have a balanced life.”
Aiton said the club’s health and wellbeing programme should secure more educational opportunities for the players.