Leading Edge

Rugby League Academy 

"Mentoring Rugby League's Next Generation"



Penrith Academy: Winter Program Part-2 starting 17th June

Newcastle: Winter program starting 5th June

School Holidays

Orange - 7th, 8th, 9th, 14th, 15th and 16th July

Newcastle - 10th and 17th July

Canterbury - 11th July | Camden - 12th July | Nowra - 19th July

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Leading Edge is a Rugby League program that was designed to help bridge the skill level gap between Club and Rep level football.

There is an abundance of dedicated and passionate players within our Junior Rugby League Clubs that are unable to make junior development and representative squads. Having a program that facilitates young athletes who share the same passion, will help them grow together as they increase their skill level and knowledge of the game. 

My main reason for wanting to start this football program is to help those young athletes who are unable to make Junior rep programs. This was my story when growing up and I feel very passionate towards helping kids who are in a similar situation. No skill level required, just individuals who are motivated, want to improve and have a good attitude.

Having played over 100 NRL games, I know what it takes to play this game at the highest level. The knowledge and experience I have gained over the course of my career I want to transfer into the next generation of Rugby League players. 

The Leading Edge program helps individuals improve in all aspects of the game. The programs developed include current NRL sessions we perform on a daily basis, giving the young athletes a feel for what its like to train as an NRL player.     Sessions include:

  • Skill development

  • Improve running speed and functional strength

  • Correct contact technique’s

  • Technical movement patterns and game awareness

  • Game preparation and recovery

  • The influence nutrition has on both sporting performance and everyday life

  • Assisting young athletes to develop a resilient mind-set to help cope with pressure both on and off the field

  • Goal setting

  • Helping individuals develop leadership qualities, working in a team environment, improve self-esteem and confidence levels

The program will run throughout the season and is broken up into various sections throughout the year.

All sessions are run by myself and a team of specialised training staff, who are highly qualified and experienced in their field of expertise. 



Rebecca Whitehurst

Oct 14, 2017

Hi Ellie

Just want to say how nice it was to meet both yourself and Tim and trainers. You guys have so much positive energy, we all walked away feeling great! As a mental health Clinical Nurse Consultant, I know how your program and intentions can play a huge part in a young man’s well- being and having a mentor such as Tim just tops it off …big congrats to initiating something so wonderful…

Kind Regards

Rebecca Whitehurst

Sarah Slater

Aug 14, 2018

My son Bailey started off the 5 week Junior Academy program lacking confidence and had stopped having fun playing the game. Tim, you and your team are amazing!! Since taking part in your program he is a lot more confident and has a new perspective on how much fun Rugby League can be. Not only that, you have had such a positive impact on him with your support and constant encouragement not to mention the skills he has picked up from your program, which I have seen him put into his game. Keep up the great work you are an inspiration to these young players, especially my son, who looks forward to training with you in your summer program. I can not highly recommend your program enough.

Jo Campbell

Aug 2, 2018

Huge shout out to Tim and Sam from LERLA men are amazing! Highly recommend even for a 10 year old. Background- my little man lacked that bit of confidence due to a bad experience getting hurt in a tackle! Running the ball not a problem! But tackling was always a bit hot and cold! I took the plunge and signed my little man up for the junior program with Tim WOW is all I can say! The confidence in only three weeks is amazing. Tim and Sam make the program so personalised simple things, shaking the boys hands, generally taking an interest in the boys games "how did you go mate on the weekend" little things like that the boys love! The program is so well run the boys don't have time to lose focus always moving onto new drills which are skills they use in their footy game but at a level for our junior players! This program with Tim is amazing highly highly recommended I've already put my son down for the upcoming summer program recommend others do the same your little one won't be disappointed!




Goal Kicking



Tim Browne- Tackle Technique, Contact and Skill Development Coach

Tim Browne- Tackle Technique, Contact and Skill Development Coach

James Tamou- Contact, Wrestling and Forwards Coach

James Tamou- Contact, Wrestling and Forwards Coach

Kevin Kingston- Hooker, Halves and Kicking Coach

Kevin Kingston- Hooker, Halves and Kicking Coach

Sam Bingham- Strength & Conditioning Coach

Sam Bingham- Strength & Conditioning Coach

Ben Mills- Personal Trainer

Ben Mills- Personal Trainer

Jess Sheargold- Fitness, Food and Lifestyle Coach

Jess Sheargold- Fitness, Food and Lifestyle Coach

John Novak- Performance, Mind and Life Coach

John Novak- Performance, Mind and Life Coach


Our Ambassadors

Tim Lafai | St. George Dragons  Position: Center

Tim Lafai | St. George Dragons

Position: Center

Dale Finucane | Melbourne Storm  Position: Lock

Dale Finucane | Melbourne Storm

Position: Lock

Corey Thompson | Wests Tigers  Position: Wing/Fullback

Corey Thompson | Wests Tigers

Position: Wing/Fullback

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Scholarship Program 2019



Preferred Academy *

My Journey

Tim Browne



Before I begin I would like to apologise for any spelling or grammar mistakes as I am far from a journalist! I would like to welcome you to my page and hope my story brings you some inspiration or added drive to pursue and never give up on your dreams. You can achieve anything in life if you are willing to work hard and continuously put the time and effort in.


As a young kid growing up in Port Stephens Newcastle, I started playing rugby league at the age of 15years. I suppose you could say that I’m a late starter compared to a lot of other kids these days. Rugby league is a game that I was drawn to because of the team comradery and quickly realised that with the excitement from playing and the passion I have for the game, I could actually make a career. My opportunity arose when I was 17 as I was invited to trial with the under 18’s SG ball side for the Newcastle Knights. This wasn’t meant to be my beginning as I was unsuccessful in making the squad. At the age of 19 I decided to give it one last crack as I knew if I was unsuccessful in making the under 20’s Jersey Flegg program, it would be even harder to find my way into the rugby league system. It just so happened that I saw an ad in the paper advertising an open trial day for the South Sydney Rabbitohs. This was the chance and opportunity I was after, so I packed my gear and made the road trip down to Sydney to chase a dream and a vision I had for myself. This is the day my career as a Rugby League player began.

(This move was not as simple as it sounds as our family is based in Newcastle and I had been with my girlfriend Ellie for over 2years. Ellie moved to Sydney with me leaving her family and friends behind.  I might add, Ellie is now my wife and the mother of our little girl. We have been married for nearly five years).


After a successful season in the South Sydney Junior program I then earn't my first NRL full time 2year contract with the Manly Sea Eagles. My time with the Manly club was riddled with injury as I struggled with constant knee injuries that continually kept me off the field. Under these circumstances my confidence was low and I felt that I could be looked upon as an injury prone player and therefore a liability for any club. This point in time my career and my dream of playing in the NRL was depleting, as I was off contract and there wasn’t any interest from my current or opposing clubs. I was just about to pack up our life and move home to Newcastle when a last-minute lifeline offer was thrown at me by the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs


My NRL debut year 2010

My NRL debut year 2010

The contract was minimum wage but was an opportunity to hang onto my dream and to play in the NRL. Coming across from Manly I brought with me some existing knee injuries that had been poorly managed. Early in the 2010 season I earned my opportunity, under coach Kevin Moore, to make my NRL debut against the New Zealand Warriors. This was a moment I would never forget.

Running out onto the famous ANZ stadium in front of 20,000 screaming bulldog fans was the adrenaline rush of a lifetime. This experience was everything and more I’d ever imagined. This feeling of success and achievement was only short lived due to a chronic knee injury that had been following me my whole career. I played 4 NRL games in total in 2010 as my knee continued to cause me grief and hinder my performance on the field. At the end of 2010 I received the “rookie of the year award” for my first season in the NRL. It was an honour to accept such an award although I didn’t feel I had earnt this due to my knee and the ongoing problems I had throughout the 2010 season.

Being able to make a difference in peoples lives as a professional athlete is one of the most rewarding experiences. Helping to inspire the young kids in PNG.

Being able to make a difference in peoples lives as a professional athlete is one of the most rewarding experiences. Helping to inspire the young kids in PNG.

For the next two years, I didn’t see a single NRL game. At the end of the 2010 season I had my MCL repaired and the doctors felt that a “Lars” (artificial ligament) would be most appropriate for my playing future. This procedure turned out to be a complete failure as my knee would stay swollen and struggled to even bend to a 90-degree angle. I spent the next five months (one operation per month) continuously in and out of hospital trying to find a solution. That was the story of my 2011 struggles and didn’t make an NRL return until round 1 of the 2013 season.


(Throughout this time of injury, I definitely doubted my ability to make a return to the NRL. I was just inches from giving the game away and returning home. Relying heavily on my wife Ellie at times to even carry me up our stairs to get inside our home, or even needing her help to bath/shower as I couldn’t hold my own weight as my knee would just collapse. Times were tough, and in 2014 I fractured my skull going in to make a tackle. This was a matter of wrong place wrong time and was quickly rushed to hospital for urgent attention. I needed to wait for the swelling to go down before the surgeons would operate. Metal plates were inserted on top of the collapsed hole in my forehead. What I didn’t realise at the time of these events was how these incidents were shaping me for the future to come. Injuries come hand in hand when playing the toughest contact sport in the world. It’s how you bounce back and grow to become even more resilient than you were before the injury. From these injuries, I learned that something I love doing could be taken away from me in a matter of seconds, so don’t take for granted a single moment you have in this life as a footballer). 

 “tough times never last but tough people do” Robert H. Schuller.

Doctors advised that they cut over my hair line and pull my face down to approach the hole. Three metal plates are inserted just above my left eye.

Doctors advised that they cut over my hair line and pull my face down to approach the hole. Three metal plates are inserted just above my left eye.

Best medicine is family.

Best medicine is family.

Doctors initially said my season was over. With luck finally on my side, I recovered 10 weeks later to make the grand final qualifier in 2014. Bulldogs Vs Panthers

Doctors initially said my season was over. With luck finally on my side, I recovered 10 weeks later to make the grand final qualifier in 2014. Bulldogs Vs Panthers


Bulldogs V's Warriors, ANZ Stadium 2015

One of the rare occasions in the modern game a front-rower gets to goal kick.

Last home game of the year in 2016. Round 26 Bulldogs Vs Rabbitohs

Last home game of the year in 2016. Round 26 Bulldogs Vs Rabbitohs

My career at the Canterbury Bulldogs built and shaped the player and man I am today. I started in 2010 and finished my time in the blue and white at the end of the 2016 season. It’s always hard to step outside your comfort zone and introduce change by leaving a club that you had been with for so long. Although, this chapter ahead was one that I welcomed.

I’ve now found a home at the Penrith Panthers where I joined at the beginning of 2017.


It’s an amazing feeling when you get to turn your dreams into a reality and call Rugby League, the game you love to play, a full time job. Just one NRL game was my only wish, now I’ve played over 100 NRL career games and never take a second for granted.


After rupturing my bowel, I announced my retirement

Retired 30th April, 2018.

The hardest decision of my life was to walk away from the game I love. After fracturing my skull in 2014, an Infection in my knee from ANZ stadium in 2016, and now a ruptured bowel (2018), I knew my time was up. The amount of pressure and stress these injuries have placed on my family over the course of my Rugby League career have been tough. Nothing in this world is more important than family and I wasn't prepared to risk walking away from the game with life long injuries that impact on my quality of life. I will be forever grateful for the journey and career I've had in this life as a professional athlete.

To all those young players that love their Rugby League - dream big! Don't ever let someone tell you, you can't do something. If an average normal kid with no natural talent like myself, who grew up in a small country town can make the NRL, then anyone who is motivated and driven enough can!

Now I look forward to working with the next generation of players and teaching them what I have learnt throughout my career. The thought of being able to help guide young players and to see someone else bring their dream to life and experience this journey as a Rugby League player, makes me extremely excited about our Leading Edge program.


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