Four-try hero has new role at Sharks
Jordan Atkins can't kick the tag of being "that bloke who scored four tries on debut” but he's not letting it get in the way of helping the modern crop of NRL players.
Atkins booked his place in the record books with an incredible debut for Gold Coast in Round 1 of the 2008 season against North Queensland to spoil Johnathan Thurston's injury comeback party.
A 25-year-old debutant, fans wondered where the winger had been all this time. Atkins ended up playing another 29 games for the Titans - plus 12 for Parramatta - before finishing his career with a cherish- ed season abroad as he and his battered body decided it was time for "a real job”.
Having already completed teaching and business degrees, it didn't take long for the Stanthorpe product to land on his feet with a role at the Cronulla Sharks, where he is now head of well-being and education.
"It's hard to explain what I do but I work closely with the NRL, the RLPA (Rugby League Players' Association) and obviously the Cronulla Sharks just with player engagement, education and wellbeing,” he said.
"So I work daily with the NRL squad and oversee the department including all squads being 200-plus players.
"It's a job I thoroughly enjoy.
"I find it rewarding... it's basically a 24/7 role but it's something I am definitely passionate about.”
Reflecting on his debut heroics, Atkins says he more so remembers the people he met in footy rather than the tries he scored.
"I can't kick that,” he laughs of the four-try tag, adding he hopes to one day return to the Gold Coast.
"But that's all right, at the end of the day I dreamt of playing footy professionally as a kid and got to do it for 10 years and it's just created so many opportunities and opened so many doors for me.”