Manaia Rudolph leading the way off the field

Wests Tigers NYC star Manaia Rudolph is undoubtably a footballer with exceptional promise.


The leading point-scorer in the 2012 NYC, Rudolph is also leading the way off the field, working as a teacher's aide at Ashcroft Public School in Sydney's west.


The NRL requires all young players to be involved in either work or study, and while some do so begrudgingly, Rudolph works with his students with the enthusiasm of a young man performing as well off the field as on.


Rudolph has spent 18 months at Ashcroft Public School, a widely multi-cultural primary school where many of the students come from lower socio-economic backgrounds.


Another product of the Keebra Park development system, Rudolph is a New Zealander and has been working with young boys of a similar cultural background and connecting with them in a unique way.


Rudolph taught a group of the students the Haka, and in doing so has helped them to gain an understanding and appreciation of their culture and has also helped develop the self-confidence of the youngsters, many who have had behavioural issues.


School Principal John Coletti praised Rudolph's work ethic and his ability to connect with the young men.


"Manaia acts as a role model for some of our Polynesian boys," said Coletti.


"He has moulded his group into one which is very proud of their culture but also feeling self-worth and feeling important in our school.


"Because Manaia has been working with them as a role model, as a football player, but also as someone with a good work ethic, it's changed their behaviour, their attitude and also their worth ethos within school."


Rudolph's group this week performed in front of the entire school as well as parents and friends and the pride the footballer showed in his young charges was evident for all to see.


"It's pretty eye opening to be able to work with kids from a similar cultural background," said Rudolph.


"Just being able to help them out has been really rewarding.


"The kids have had a few behavioural problems, but as they've come together they've shown what they're capable of and have been doing really well.


"Prior to the performance I was feeling a little nervous for them, but as they started to perform I just felt really proud of them and what they've become and what they've achieved."