By Kevin Braysher
With an eye towards life after football, Burleigh Colts gun Daniel Shannon has spent his off-season getting his foot in the door of corporate Australia.
19-year-old Daniel is one of the many success stories of young, talented football players setting themselves up for life away from the field while still competing at high levels of the game.
In his third year of studying a Bachelor of Business majoring in finance at Griffith University, Daniel is also working with IAG in Brisbane while still training the house down with his Burleigh teammates ahead of the 2020 Hastings Deering Colts season.
“I started interning for IAG in November and I have just started a new job here last week, so I’m staying on,” he said.
“Over the summer I did a few different things and I got to see all different parts of the business. It was very interesting because it’s such a large company. It’s the biggest insurance company in Australia and there is a lot of different parts of it that you wouldn’t know about from the outside.”
A proud indigenous man, Daniel teamed up with the CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship Program which helped him land his opportunity with IAG.
CareerTrackers has spent the last decade working to help indigenous students attend and graduate university with high marks and the chance to move into the workplace.
“They’re an indigenous not for profit organisation set up to help indigenous students get corporate internships,” Daniel said.
“It’s pretty cool what they do. I went to their Gala Dinner in Melbourne where 2,500 students were there for this big dinner and got to do some personal development workshops and they had a lot of interesting keynote speakers. Malcolm Turnbull was there, Alan Joyce, the CEO of QANTAS, was there to speak to us as well. It was really interesting.”
Juggling his work and university life with his rugby league commitments is a lot to ask of one man, but Daniel said the chance to “throw a bit of banter around and have fun” with his mates at the Bears helps him get through the long days.
“I found it a little difficult at the start due to the commute,” he said. “It’s a long day. Getting up early to travel to work and then work all day – looking forward to having training in the afternoon is a big driver, honestly. Even though it’s tough training and hard work, it can really make the day feel worth it.”
Daniel’s is a path many others choose to take, with the knowledge that even those who make it to the NRL only have a limited window to make a living from the game they love.
According to NRL statistics, 25% of players who make it to the top-level play 10 games or less, while 50% play less than 60 games.
It’s important for young players to set themselves up for life after football, and Daniel believes for many people it’s a matter of taking the chance and opening themselves up to the world around them.
“Uni is not for everyone, but you don’t always need to have a degree to have this kind of job,” he said.
“It would be good for some people to see that there are more opportunities out there in corporate Australia. I think a lot of people get very focused on the surroundings that they’re currently in and have trouble getting out.”