Jayden Chadburn played rugby league from the age of four until he was 25, always harbouring dreams of making it to the NRL.
While he did not become a professional player, his love for the game led him to founding a thriving business - and a new role as strength and conditioning coach with the Gold Coast Titans women’s team.
Jayden grew up in Kingscliff in northern New South Wales, playing for the Cudgen Hornets and making the NSW Indigenous Under 16s side in high school.
“I played every year up until last year when I finally gave it away after copping a few injuries,” he says.
Rugby league and sport in general, was at the front of his mind when it came time to choose a university education. Staying close to the Tweed region and family was also important to Jayden who has Aboriginal (Bundjalung) and South Sea Islander heritage. He chose Bond University, studying a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science on an Indigenous scholarship.
“Originally my family were cane cutters who later ventured to work on the beach netting mullet during the season,” he says.
“Over the years we integrated into the Indigenous community of the Tweed.
“I still have family members that are fishermen and work the beaches, whether it be fishing, beach worms or pipis.”
He admits to almost dropping the ball on his university studies at times but stayed on track with help from the Nyombil Indigenous Support Centre which has seen the University achieve a 91 percent success rate for Indigenous students, compared to the sector average of 71 percent.
“I thought I did pretty well in Year 11 and 12 and I’d just come straight into university and smash it out but that wasn’t the case,” Jayden says.
“It got to a stage where I was almost thinking I might not get there, but I pushed on.
“I wouldn’t have been able to get through if it wasn’t for the Nyombil Centre, the tutoring program and the support of the Faculty.”
Jayden became the first in his family to obtain a university degree and after going on to complete a Master of Clinical Exercise Physiology, he established Kingscliff Coast Exercise Physiology which operates in Kingscliff and Murwillumbah.
Business is booming and Jayden remains involved with rugby league as a strength and conditioning coach for the Indigenous Women’s team. The role recently led to him being appointed as strength and conditioning coach for the Titans women’s team in their 2021 debut NRLW season.
“It started as a bit of a hobby and a way of staying connected to rugby league.” Jayden says of his roles with the Indigenous pathways program and the Tweed Head Seagulls Queensland Cup squad.
“I didn’t think I’d achieve what I have in this short amount of time, being 26 years old.
“I’m just taking every opportunity as it comes but I’m also focused on the business and doing well.”
He says the immediate success of his business has been a challenge, but one that he relishes.
“It’s all come on quickly but I like the responsibility and I’ve just got to make the most of the opportunities that have been placed in front of me.”
His client base is diverse, ranging from sportspeople to those dealing with chronic conditions. But Jayden’s dream of making it in the NRL remains alive – albeit in a slightly different form. He hopes his work in the NRLW will support the development of the NRLW and might lead to further roles within the NRL.
“I’d love to work with other elite players in the future,” he says. “I still love the game.”
“The Bond scholarship was the springboard to my success,” Jayden says.
“It was just a major privilege to get that scholarship and I’m grateful for the opportunity. It provided me with the stepping stone to get where I am today.”
Explore scholarships at Bond
Bond offers a range of part-fee and full-fee scholarships, including scholarships specifically for Indigenous students.