Three Fremantle Dockers are studying for degrees at Murdoch University.
David Mundy, 28, is studying marine science, while Glendinning Medalist Lachie Neale, 20, and Chris Mayne, 25, are undertaking sport science degrees. All three are studying part time and are effectively in their first years.
The players admitted combining coursework and lectures with football training and travel to games could be tricky at times but the effort was worth it.
“Like most things, the hardest part is starting and developing good routines with readings and study,” said David. “Sometimes the best place for that happens to be 30,000 feet in the air when we are traveling.”
Lachie added: “The key is to have good time management skills. It’s really important to do something away from the club and uni is a great way to help with life after footy. I find it beneficial for my performance as I get a relief from footy.”
Chris has ambitions to become a physical education teacher after his footy career is over and said that the club and Murdoch were supporting him well.
“Murdoch really helps athletes achieve their goals,” he said. “The football club has a good relationship with the uni and the transition has been really easy thanks to the support on offer.”
David, Chris and Lachie are part of Murdoch’s Elite Athlete Program which assists sports people competing at a national or international level to achieve their academic goals while meeting the demands of vigorous training and competition regimes.
Jason Rickersey, who coordinates the program for Murdoch, said he has helped the Dockers trio organise classes around training, get assignment extensions and make up for missed material due to training and playing commitments.
“I work closely with academics, other University departments and the Fremantle Dockers’ Player Development Manager to ensure the players can maintain their studies while playing at the highest level.
“I’m really proud to be able to help the guys balance sport and study so that they have a qualification for after their AFL careers,” he said.
In the meantime, however, David, Chris and Lachie can be seen on Murdoch’s South Street campus as well as on the footy oval and are very relaxed about fellow students and staff members recognising them.
“After a quick chat about footy, we are all just uni students, stressing about an upcoming test or exam!” Said David.
“It’s no big deal at all,” added Lachie. “My parents always tell me it might be the 100th conversation you have had about footy but it’s the first they have had with you.”