2018 La Trobe University Education and Training Excellence Award, presented by La Trobe, goes to Fremantle’s David Mundy, and the Western Bulldogs’ Tiarna Ernst.
Fremantle midfielder David Mundy is a high achiever on the field, yet it seems he’s an even higher achiever off it.
Studying at Perth’s Murdoch University, the 294-game veteran has balanced an outstanding AFL career with a Bachelor of Marine Science degree.
After being selected for a Masterclass Program due to outstanding academic results this year, Mundy is now eligible to obtain a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration at the completion of his studies.
“It has been hugely rewarding, and has been a great distraction from football,” Mundy told AFLPlayers.com.au.
Along with his studies, Mundy has also completed his AFL SportsReady Professional Certificate, is an AFLPA Delegate and a Level 2 Coaching Accreditation with the Western Australian Football Commission.
Among those achievements, however, it’s Mundy’s initial passion to study marine science which has kept him most captivated.
“I’d always had an interest in marine science coming through high school,” he said.
“I got my scuba diving ticket and through those experiences, I’d met some people who studied marine science at Murdoch and Curtin (Universities), and it was something I was enjoying and I was deeply interested in.”
His passion has translated into academic success, with the 33-year-old achieving 14 distinctions and three high distinctions throughout his studies so far.
It’s why Mundy was one of two players selected as the 2018 La Trobe University Education and Training Excellence Award recipients at the 2018 AFL Players’ MVP Awards night, along with Western Bulldogs’ AFLW star Tiarna Ernst.
One thing which Mundy has dealt with is the practical elements of his course, which sometimes conflicts with the demands of an AFL career.
“In terms of doing the Bachelor of Marine Science component, it’s quite a lot of hands-on lab work,” Mundy said.
“So coordinating time schedules both for the football club and seeing how we as an interstate team travel every fortnight, it is tough organising times to get lab work done.”
Like Mundy, the Western Bulldogs’ Tiarna Ernst also has to deal with balancing time commitments between football and external studies.
After graduating as a doctor in 2011, Ernst is undertaking a training program with the Royal College of Australia and New Zealand of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, having already completed four years of the six-year course.
An AFLW premiership player with the Bulldogs, Ernst spends 86 hours per fortnight working at Monash Health performing obstetric and genealogical procedures.
“The opportunity to work with females at a pretty significant time in their lives, particularly the pregnancy side of it, is rewarding,” Ernst told AFLPlayers.com.au.
“I make sure we are supporting women before they fall pregnant during the pregnancy, during the labour, during the delivery and after pregnancy as well.”
While most would struggle working in one of her professions, Ernst loves the challenge of balancing both.
The secret to Ernst juggling full-time work, study and football is in alleviating negative emotions.
“I suppose the biggest thing I’ve been trying to enable and the thing that has allowed me to achieve both is that I’ve worked with Richard Malone through Quality Mind,” she said.
“He runs a program which is tailored towards professionals and sports people on how to eliminate pressures and anxieties and to be able to balance everything.
“It helps me understand what’s important and how to be more efficient with my time.”
What has been a real highlight of Ernst’s studies and training program is the outlet it has given her away from football.
It’s why Ernst says anything can be achieved if you put your mind to it.
“You can achieve pretty incredible balances if you put your mind and heart into it,” she said.
“I think it’s incredibly important. Football isn’t the be-all and end-all of life, there’s a lot of time where you can have experiences outside of football.
“It makes you a much more rounded individual if you have interests outside of football.”