The NRL has announced the list of finalists in the running to win the prestigious Ken Stephen Medal presented by Telstra for their work in the community.
This year’s nominees have been involved in everything from establishing programs supporting professional athletes studying at university to dedicating countless hours to children’s literacy programs and striving to stamp out bullying in schools across the country.
NRL Head of Community, Adam Check, said the players had either undertaken the work through their clubs – or of their own accord.
Members of the public can make a difference by voting for the player they feel is most deserving of such the medal voting here
Voting is live to the public from midday Monday, 1 September until midnight on Wednesday, 10 September.
The Ken Stephen Medal is named after the NSWRL administrator who dedicated 28 years of service to the game.
Finalists for 2014 Ken Stephen Medal presented by Telstra are:
Brisbane Broncos: Josh McGuire
Canberra Raiders: Joel Edwards
Canterbury Bulldogs: Trent Hodkinson
Cronulla Sharks: Michael Gordon
Gold Coast Titans: Ryan James
North Queensland Cowboys: Gavin Cooper
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles: Brenton Lawrence
Melbourne Storm: Matt Duffie
Newcastle Knights: Robbie Rochow
New Zealand Warriors: Manu Vatuvei
Parramatta Eels: Ben Smith
Penrith Panthers: Nigel Plum
St George Illawarra Dragons: Ben Creagh
Sydney Roosters: Anthony Minichiello
Wests Tigers: Dene Halatau
The medal has been won by Rugby League legends including Wayne Pearce, Paul Harragon, Nathan Hindmarsh, Hazem El Masri, David Peachey, Preston Campbell and Johnathan Thurston, to name a few.
Mr Check said players and One Community Ambassadors spent more than 30,000 hours working in their communities last year.
“We know clubs already dedicate a significant amount of time to the community but the nominees for the Ken Stephen Medal go above and beyond the call of duty - they are role models of the game,” he said.
“The NRL One Community Awards are also about recognising the contribution made by people in all areas of the game who work tirelessly to make Rugby League such a strong and diverse game.”
The winner will be announced at the One Community Awards held at Sydney’s Carriageworks on Thursday, 25 September. The NRL will recognise the community work made, not only by the players, but also local heroes from across the community.
The list of community awards includes the Telstra NRL One Community Grassroots Club of the Year, Holden National Volunteer of the Year, AAMI Service to Rugby League Medal, ACCOR National Teacher of the Year and Harvey Norman Women in League Achievement.
An honour roll of previous Ken Stephen Medal winners includes:
1988 Wayne Pearce
1989 Ricky Walford
1990 Michael Bolt
1991 Pat Jarvis
1992 Peter Sterling
1993 Michael Andrews
1994 Ian Roberts
1995 Rod Wishart
1996 Not awarded
1997 Paul Harragon
1998 Mark Coyne
1999 Andrew Ettingshausen
2000 Nathan Blacklock
2001 Parramatta Eels
2002 Hazem El Masri
2003 David Peachey
2004 Dean Widders
2005 Jason Stevens
2006 Michael Monaghan
2007 Ruben Wiki
2008 Preston Campbell
2009 Nathan Hindmarsh
2010 Andrew Ryan
2011 Sam Thaiday
2012 Johnathan Thurston
2013 Terry Campese