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Sporting Schools School Yard to Sports Star: Alan Tongue

Alan Tongue

Alan Tongue, Former Captain of the Canberra Raiders (NRL)

What are your memories of playing sport at school? Did you play any other sports? 

As a young kid I played cricket, but the main sport that I played outside of rugby league was tennis, which I still enjoy playing today. I loved playing sport for my school, it was such a great feeling to play alongside your school mates; some of my greatest memories I have in rugby league are with my high school mates.

How did you get into rugby league?

My dad played rugby league in Tamworth, my older brother followed his lead, and then I followed suit too. I started playing rugby league when I was six years old and loved it from day one. 

Do you remember your first try? How did it feel?

I can’t remember my first try, but my earliest memories of sport are the Saturday’s where I would be up very early with my playing strip on before breakfast, and would wear it until bed time… I couldn’t get enough rugby league as a young kid. 

How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a professional sports person?

I wanted to be a professional rugby league player from a young age, but I don’t think I really believed that it could be a reality until I was about 16-17 years of age when some pathways started to open up. First at the Brisbane Broncos, but eventually with the mighty Canberra Raiders. 

What are your top three tips to children about playing sport?

  1. Find a sport you love. It may be the first one you choose or it could be five or six years of playing different sports before you find your place, but once you get it you will never look back.
  2. Losing is ok; it teaches you valuable lessons about life. Sometimes you give your best but the result doesn’t go your way, and that’s ok. As long as you know you have prepared well and given your best effort, you’re setting yourself up for success eventually.
  3. Think positively and speak words of encouragement; lead by example in your actions and, most importantly, listen to your coaches who are there to support you.

Sporting Schools is a $160 million Australian Government initiative to get more children playing more sport, before, during and after school. Want to run a Rugby League program at your school? Check out all the details on the National Rugby League page.