Dally M medallist Tom Trbojevic's stunning on-field form this season has been matched only by his off-field achievements, with the Manly superstar also named the 2021 NRL Academic Player of the Year.
It is the first time that the same player has won both awards and Trbojevic believes his studies contributed to his brilliant performances for the Sea Eagles and NSW State of Origin team.
The 24-year-old, who is completing a Bachelor of Applied Finance with a Bachelor of Economics degree at Macquarie University, was awarded the Dally M Medal in Brisbane on Monday night and just days later has been announced as the male Academic Player of the Year
Brisbane Broncos and Jillaroos playmaker Tarryn Aiken, who is currently completing her Honours in Psychology at Griffith University, was named the female Academic Player of the Year.
Trbojevic and Aiken were among the players recognised by the NRL and RLPA with selections in the 2021 Academic Team of the Year, which includes male and female stars studying a variety of courses, including business, physiotherapy, construction, education, psychology, exercise science and finance.
"I want to say how honoured I am to make the Academic Team of the Year," Trbojevic said. "It is an awesome achievement and something I am very proud of.
"I have always studied since my under-20s days. It was kind of a thing that we had to do, and I have always continued to do it. Mum has been a big push in that, and I am almost done now so I am very thankful to her for keeping me doing it.
"It really sets me up for life after football so hopefully when my footy career is all done, I can get a job somewhere and it will make that transition all the more easier."
Aiken said: "It is a huge honour, especially seeing the off-field success of the former players who have been named in this team".
Trbojevic, who last year received Macquarie University's Chancellors Award and was named Male Athlete of the Year, has also been gaining experience by working for iFin Capital, a Sydney-based brokerage firm.