After putting out the call for applicants last year, new series The NRL Rookie has scouted Australia and overseas to unearth athletes who can perform at a high enough level to compete within the NRL. Its winner will be offered a one-year contract with one of the 16 NRL clubs.
The series comes from McGuire Media which also produced The Recruit, a reality show that sought to find the next big AFL star.
In describing The NRL Rookie, NRL head of marketing Lewis Pullen said: “Somewhere out there is someone with great potential who dreams of becoming an NRL star. The NRL is going to help him realise that potential, whoever he is. And, not to forget about where they got their start, we’ll also be giving the winning rookie’s local rugby league club $25,000 to use for uniforms, equipment or a clubroom makeover”.
When Mediaweek caught up with host Erin Molan on location, she explained the reason the show is so compelling is that it reflects the real life challenges that the contestants have overcome, as well as focusing on their drive and determination to make the best of their chance on the show to make it as a genuine NRL player.
As the contestants face physical challenges to prove their abilities, the viewer is also offered an insight into the players’ lives and the obstacles in the way that held them back. For some players it was personal tragedy like the death of a parent, but others were held back by financial circumstance, physical injury, or the mistake of starting a sports career focused on soccer.
While every contestant on the show is at a physical peak that puts the majority of us to shame, they are not all on an even level physically. With some players older than others, or harbouring injuries, the show has its rookies working extra hard to keep up with one another. For rookies to make it on this program, they truly are put through the paces and forced to achieve their absolute best.
The NRL Rookie launches 31 May on Go!