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Ever wondered what the players get up to in their spare time? Well a number of Penrith Panther players have recently been spending their own leisure time to improve their skills away from the football field, participating in a range of educational courses organised by Education and Careers Coordinator Renee Selby-Jones.

One example of the type of courses that the players are involved in is a Foundation of Media Skills program, a six week program offered by the Hunter Institute of Tafe.
Young Panthers players Bryce Cartwright, Matt Moylan, Tyrone Peachey, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Reagan Campbell Gillard and Isaah Yeo have now completed the course and Selby Jones says that the improvements in all of the players have been very noticeable to everyone, “The way they address the media and conduct themselves has vastly improved, and everyone is making comment about it”.

This year is the first year that Panthers players have been involved in this course, after the club decided to invest more time into the young players following a similar two day program was run last year. Over the six weeks the players learnt about such areas as body language whilst speaking to media, consequences of inappropriate interviews, understanding their audience, social media and how to get their key messages across. To do this, the boys participated in a number of real life scenarios which saw them thrown into situations that they have not faced before and taught them how to deal with these occasions.

In recent weeks, the way in which players like Moylan, Yeo and Cartwright have dealt with their increasing exposure to the media, is good evidence that they took a lot out of this course.

Another course that players have been participating in over a longer period of time is the Certificate 3 and Certificate 4 in Fitness and Personal Training through FIA Fitnation.

Upon completion of this course, Cartwright, Campbell Gillard, Isaac John, James Segeyaro, Dean Whare, Anthony Cherrington, Brendan Attwood, Wes Naiqama, Josh Tangitau and Jordan Stratton will become fully qualified personal trainers.

The boys have already completed their certificate three and have only a few modules left in their certificate four which means that they are now at the stage where they need to get some real life experience in the industry and run some sessions. Therefore, in conjunction with the Close the Gap round this week in the NRL, the boys took the chance on Wednesday morning to put a group of indigenous children, teens and families through a 45 minute boot camp.

The large group of people that turned out for the chance to be trained by their NRL heroes were split into two groups- adults and children, and performed an array of physical activities under the guidance of the Panther players.

The enjoyment on the faces of all participants was only surpassed by the enjoyment that the players were having with their chance to inflict some of the gruelling activities, which they do on a day to day basis, on others. These activities included boxing, running, weights circuits and pushing and pulling some sleds. The way in which the players conducted themselves and interacted with the group showed just how much they had learnt through the course.

The boys decided on Tackle Fitness as the name of the session today and took the opportunity to also educate the participants on healthy and active lifestyle choices, including nutritional information, especially in regards to diabetes, which is the number one killer of indigenous people in Australia.

The participants didn’t leave empty handed either, they received a ticket to Monday night’s game against the Cowboys, Panthers posters and hats, and a range of healthy recipes that the boys found themselves.

With programs such as the media training course and the certificates 3 and 4 in fitness, the club is ensuring that the players are not only becoming better players but are also trained in a number of different areas so they can give back to the community as well as have options in their post-football lives.

Acknowledgement of Country

Penrith Panthers players and staff respect and honour the traditional custodians of the land and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.