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globalrugbyleague - Sun, 01 Jun 2008 17:55:00 GMT
Open up a copy of the NRL media guide and there is a wealth of information on your favourite player if you’re obsessed with player statistics But what tactics for the game of life lie behind the rough exterior of the modern day footballer? Alison Larsen caught up with Sea Eagles prop Jason King to find out.

For the first time since finishing high school in 1998, Jason King isn’t studying.

Not that it’s been a raging issue in Rugby League when you consider he hasn’t been dropped from first grade since making his debut with the Northern Eagles back in 2001.

King himself could easily be accused of being too busy to notice himself.

“I was doing Business Administration and Law, a combined degree at Macquarie University. I did three years of that full time, then football went full time so I put study off to part time. I eventually decided to finish the business degree,” King said.

Armed with a Business degree, King then pursued a Post Graduate degree in Property Economics but has now deferred it after finding it too time consuming.

“It’s only a year full time by distance education so I’d like to pick it back up at some point whether that be while I’m still playing or after,” he said.

The logical thought process would tell us that Jason sacrificed his studies and future aspirations for football.

But in actual fact, he might be one of the lucky ones with a choice.

“I stopped because I felt I’d had enough studying for the time being. It was more a need to rest from study not really that football made me have that rest.

I really wanted to concentrate on my football. I had been studying and combining them both for so long that I felt like it was time I really knuckled down at football and I felt I could probably do a little bit more training,” King admitted.

“I didn’t feel like I had to pick.

The club has been fantastic along with the National Rugby League and the Rugby League Players Association. Des has always been more than lenient and let me do whatever I felt I needed to do.”

The National Rugby league seems to have cottoned on to the fact that professional players need to be career ready in retirement so as to make them feel as worthy as they did when they played first grade.

At an average age of 33, its hardly time for the pensioners discount.

Manly is one of several clubs that is actively aware of how their current players will survive after football.

The club has routines in place such as visiting a careers advisor every year to point players in the right direction.

“Manly are all about helping improve everyone individually not just on the football field. Part of my decision to put the study aside is that you can always go back to study.

This is my opportunity to be successful at rugby league and really have a go at it. It’s all or nothing. At the end of the day when I hang up my boots I can honestly say I gave it my best shot,” he said.

In retirement, Jason sees himself in a business administration role whether it’s at club level or NRL level. The next Michael Buettner perhaps?

The end of a career in league doesn’t have to be the end of the world. A bit of self-imposed career coaching can really make a difference.

But do all players have their futures planned?

As attractive as employment in the media is, only a select few with a flair for television or radio get the opportunity to maintain the fame.

Fans might think of professional players as super human beings with a superb talent but players can also be stereotyped as unintelligent.

In a modern world where the ability to multi-skill will determine how far you go up the income scale, nobody can afford to sell themselves short let alone League players.

And so the advice from King’s own experience is short, simple yet effective.

Allow yourself the option of getting into something you enjoy when football finishes. - Read More, Here