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Vodafone Warriors Jerome Ropati, Siliva Havili and Mason Lino have all been honoured at the 2014 NRL–RLPA Academic Team of the Year Awards announced in Sydney today.

Ropati, who ended his 145-game Vodafone Warriors career earlier this season, has won the inaugural NRL Pasifika Academic Excellence Award along with fellow NRL veteran and former Kiwi team-mate Sam Perrett.

Havili has been named in the NRL Academic of the Year and Lino in the NYC Academic Team of the Year.

The Pasifika Academic Excellence Award is available to two NRL players of Pasifika heritage who have excelled and demonstrated a long-term commitment to rugby league, academia and Pasifika outreach.

During his 12 seasons as an NRL player Ropati (29) was tirelessly committed to both Vodafone Warriors and personal community initiatives and activities. He has a special interest in educational programmes having been the face of and a driving force behind the Konica Minolta-sponsored League in Libraries literacy programme.

Now in retirement his involvement has stepped up further in an ambassador’s role for the club.

As a recipient of the Pasifika award, Ropati will join Perrett during the off-season on a scholarship at the famed University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

The Kiwi internationals travel to Los Angeles to learn about Pacific Islander studies and Pasifika outreach programmes at UCLA. During their 10-day stay they will also attending training and matches with college sporting teams.

Ropati was humbled by the acknowledgement.

“It’s a huge honour to be the first co-winner of this award with Sam,” he said.

“I had to make the decision earlier than I had wanted to end my playing career but throughout I have always enjoyed the chance to make a contribution off the field and to help in the community in any way I can.”

Vodafone Warriors welfare and education manager Jerry Seuseu said Ropati had been the ultimate example of an NRL player who had achieved balance between his football career and his life off it.

“This is well-deserved recognition for Jerome,” he said.

“He has made a huge contribution in the community and is doing even more now as an ambassador for the club. He has always given real consideration to his options away from football.”

By being named in the NRL Academic Team of the Year, Havili has added another achievement in a memorable year which has already featured his NRL debut and his first Test for the Kiwis. He is in his final year studying a Bachelor of Health Science (specialising in podiatry) at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

And Lino makes the NYC Academic Team of the Year. On the field he brought up 50 appearances in the NYC this year while he is also attending AUT completing a Bachelor of Business.

“We had David Bhana acknowledged last year when he finished his degree at the University of Auckland last year,” said Seuseu.

“Now Siliva and Mason have shown again how critical it is for our young players to have options outside football.”



Broncos | Todd Lowrie

  Cert IV in Project Management

  Cert IV in Small Business

  Capital Training Institute & Arouni Tech

Bulldogs | Dale Finucane

  Bachelor of Health and Movement

  Australian College of Physical Education

Raiders | David Shillington

  Bachelor of Business                   

  Diploma of Business

  University of Canberra

Cowboys | Brent Tate

  Cert IV Frontline Management

  Cert IV Small Business

  Skill 360

Sea Eagles | Tom Symonds

  Graduated Bachelor of Health Exercise Science

  University of NSW

Sea Eagles | Brenton Lawrence

  Bachelor of Arts in International studies (completed)

  Certificates III and IV in Training                                           

  Australian Institute of Workforce Development

Storm | Ryan Hoffman

  Bachelor of Business

  Open Universities

Knights | Robbie Rochow

  Degree in Civil Engineering 

  University of Newcastle

Panthers | Jeremy Latimore

  Bachelor of Commerce

  University of Wollongong

  Panthers Education Ambassador

Panthers | Ryan Simpkins

  Diploma in Hydraulics Design

  Qualified Plumber

  St Leonards Tafe

Rabbitohs | Jason Clark

  Cert III Fitness and Cert IV in Small Business

  Australian Institute of Fitness & Elite training company 

  Qualified Apprentice Carpenter

Dragons | Jason Nightingale

  Bachelor of Business Degree

  University of Wollongong

Vodafone Warriors | Siliva Havili

  Bachelor of Health Science – Podiatry

  Auckland University of Technology



Bulldogs | Adam Elliott

  Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy)

  Sydney University

Raiders | Andrew Heffernan

  Bachelor of Sports Coaching & Exercise Science

  University of Canberra

Cowboys | Corey Jensen

  Degree in Sport & Exercise Science

  James Cook University

Titans | Mitch Sharp

  Bachelor of Nursing 

  Griffith University

Sea Eagles | Jack Delaney

  Bachelor of Business & Commerce

  University of Western University

Storm | Christian Welch

  Bachelor Commerce degree

  Melbourne University

Knights | Lachlan Fitzgibbon

  Bachelor of Construction Management 

  University of Newcastle

Panthers | Joshjua Tangitau

  Degree in Exercise Sports Science 

  Australian Catholic University

Sharks | Ben Chahoud

  Carpentry Apprenticeship

  Bronson Construction                        

Rabbitohs | Cheyne Whitelaw

  Bachelor of Exercise Physiology

  University of New South Wales

Dragons | Adam Clune

  Degree in Law

  University of Wollongong

Vodafone Warriors | Mason Lino

  Bachelor of Business

  Auckland University of Technology

Wests Tigers | Nathan Milone

  Bachelor of Business

  University of Technology Sydney



Broncos | Aaron Rockley

  Qualified Carpenter

  All Trades Queensland

  Currently employed by Brett Walters

Broncos | Adam Brideson

  State Manager KPD

  Former NRL player with Bulldogs



(Sponsored by the NRL and Diamond Galleria)

Vodafone Warriors | Jerome Ropati

  Diploma in Business & Bachelor of Health

  Auckland University of Technology

  NZ University Blues Award winner 2008

  Vodafone Warriors Education Committee Member & Ambassador

  Vodafone Warriors League in Libraries reading programme captain

  Deacon youth leader of local church since 2007

  Husband and father of three

  Vodafone Warriors | 145 games, 2003-2014

  Kiwis | 11 Tests, 2005-2009; World Cup winner, 2008

Bulldogs | Sam Perrett

  Diploma in Management

  Cert IV Building and Construction

  Qualified Builder

  Owns and runs construction company

  “Trade- Up with the NRL” Apprentice mentor.

  NRL Education Ambassador 2012-2014

  NRL Pasifika players’ advisory group

  11th season as an NRL player

  Husband and father of four

  Played more than 200 NRL games

  Played 21 Tests for Kiwis 2007-2014


Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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