03 February 2022

as seen on warriors.kiwi

Former Kiwis Jerry Seuseu and Ben Henry will again be familiar faces when the Vodafone Warriors combine with wellbeing provider Le Va and the New Zealand Rugby League to deliver another series of workshops for clubs from the Auckland Rugby League region in the coming months.

After being with the Vodafone Warriors in a wellbeing role for many years, 132-game club favourite Seuseu is now the NZRL’s wellbeing manager but he remains involved with the Vodafone Warriors’ wellbeing support team.

Now leading the Vodafone Warriors as player wellbeing and education manager is Ben Henry, who graduated to the welfare and education space after his immensely promising NRL career was cruelly cut short at 52 games only one match into the 2016 season.

Together with Le Va, Henry and Seuseu are well-versed in bringing mental wealth workshops to clubs from the NZRL’s Akarana and Counties Manukau zones.

They began a programme again last year but their plans were undone by Auckland’s Covid lockdown.

Now they’re ready to roll again with an initiative that sees Auckland clubs being transported on the Vodafone Warriors’ bus to be hosted at workshops at the club’s Mount Smart Stadium base.

As well as players from clubs throughout Auckland, squad members from the Sky Sport Future Warriors programme will be involved in the workshops which combine mental and physical drills targeted at the younger age bracket.

“The main drive of the workshops is to help young people manage their mental health through developing strong mental health tools and strategies,” said Henry.

“These are aimed at building the protective factors required to live a robust life in Aotearoa and meet the challenges of modern day living.”

Seuseu added this year’s mental wealth programme runs off the back of the model used in 2019 and 2020.

“We will be delivering the latest offering from Le Va, the Atu Mai programme,” he said.

“It is an anti-violence programme aimed at building mental health strength through understanding and developing players’ cultural identities. Individuals are more resilient if they have a strong sense of whakapapa and identity.”

The workshops will kick off with a visit from the New Lynn Stags on February 11.

For more information about the Le Va programmes:

CLICK HERE for Atu Mai workshops. 

CLICK HERE for resources and research.

Wellbeing colleagues collaborate

Wellbeing colleagues Seuseu and Henry are both accredited through the NRL and are NRL endorsed and funded to deliver wellbeing services to Vodafone Warriors players.

Seuseu left the Vodafone Warriors in May last year to head up the national programme at the NZRL after 11 years as the Vodafone Warriors’ wellbeing manager.” he said.

“We are lucky to partner with the Vodafone Warriors to facilitate discussions about the state of wellbeing and offer tools and strategies that are used in high performance sport to grow resilience at the grassroots level starting with the ARL clubs.

“I am enjoying the switch from high-performance athletes to the grassroots communities.” NZRL Wellbeing Manager, Jerry Seuseu commented.

“We are more than just a game and it is important to have programmes and strategies to look after our rugby league community. One in five people go through serious mental distress at some point in their lives.”

Henry has stepped in to lead the Vodafone Warriors’ programme and has five years’ experience as a wellbeing officer.

While his playing career was shortened by serious injury, he is a perfect example of what could be accomplished as a professional athlete. He completed several qualifications while playing – a certificate in computer programming, a certificate (level four) in business and a certificate in applied engineering. He is the ideal fit to help young players plan for a footy career and to also look ahead to transition away from the game.

Henry has quickly built a team around him with Jason Fiddes running point in Australia with the NRL players; Fiddes previously worked as a wellbeing officer at the Brisbane Broncos.

Also back on board is Enroy Talamahina, who continues his four-year relationship with the club. Talamahina is from the Sports Chaplaincy New Zealand service and assists Henry in his role for the players back in New Zealand.

Anyone interested in the programme, please contact Jerry Seuseu at [email protected] or Ben through [email protected]