Off-field balance results in on-field rise for Rebels' Matt Philip

Maintaining a balanced lifestyle away from the rugby field is the key for Melbourne Rebels lock and La Trobe Elite Athlete Program (LEAP) member Matt Philip.

Philip, who is currently studying a Bachelor of Applied Information Technology at La Trobe, has emerged as an important cog this season for the Melbourne Rebels as they seek to secure a maiden Super Rugby finals appearance.

While Philip has shone on the field this season, the 26-year-old says having an off-field focus in the form of study has provided numerous benefits to his rugby career.

“It gives me a good sense of balance within my life so I’m not thinking about rugby the whole time,” Philip said.

“At La Trobe University, I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Applied Information Technology. I just thought it would be something I would be interested in because it is so far from what I currently know, so it’s quite an interesting subject.

“I’ve also got time to get away from rugby and learn some other hobbies and skills that I can add to myself as a person.”

While securing a finals berth for the Rebels is at the forefront of his mind at the moment, Philip said maintaining a structure to his academic pursuits was a key part of his routine.

“Designating some time during the week where you know you will be online, when you’ll be doing your study just to keep some structure and keep the ball rolling as you go through it (is important),” he said.

For those athletes considering academic study whilst playing professional sport, Philip said it’s a matter of finding something that interests you.

“The advice I’d give to young athletes looking to start university is just to give it a go,” Philip said.

“There’s so many courses out there, you’ll definitely be able to find one that suits you the best.”

For more information on the La Trobe Elite Athlete Program (LEAP), visit the La Trobe Sport website.

Image: Matt Philip dives for a try (supplied by Melbourne Rebels).