Canberra Captain Terry Campese’s courage on the field is unquestioned, but it is his courage and commitment off the field to raise more than $100,000 for his “community” that saw him win the top honour at tonight’s 2013 NRL One Community Awards.
Campese, 29, pipped Dragons captain Ben Creagh and Knights skipper Kurt Gidley from a field of 15 NRL stars for the coveted Ken Stephen Medal presented by Telstra, which was one of eight awards announced at Sydney’s Town Hall, at a special evening that launched a spectacular week of Telstra Premiership Grand Final celebrations for the 2013 season.
Campese launched the Terry Campese Foundation last year after spending almost the entire 2011 and 2012 seasons out with serious injuries and used his time on the sidelines to focus on helping people who have fallen on hard times in Southern New South Wales, Canberra and Queanbeyan. He is also an Ambassador for Ronald McDonald House, CanTeen and Raising Hope.
“I’m very honoured to have won the Ken Stephen Medal and represent the huge number of players who spend time in the community helping those less fortunate than us,” said Campese.
“I didn’t set up my Foundation for the accolades. The recognition I love is seeing people’s faces when you know you’ve made a difference.”
Campese was among eight other award winners last night including Holden Volunteer of the Year, Grahame Wagener, who established a Junior Disability Rugby League team in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, and the Learn Earn Legend! winner Amelia Telford, who recently returned from climbing the Himalayas in support of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.
More than 350 guests, including NRL club officials and players, award nominees, sponsors and politicians, attended the inspiring ceremony to acknowledge and celebrate Rugby League’s unsung heroes.
"The One Community Awards is a very special event for Rugby League and this year’s winners are truly a testament to the amazing work that the players, volunteers and wider grassroots fraternity put into maintaining and developing the quality of our great game," said NRL Interim Community, Culture and Diversity General Manager, Mr Mark deWeerd.
"Congratulations to Terry Campese and all of tonight's award winners as well as the almost 90,000 volunteers who have contributed to the game in the past year.
“We are privileged to have them all in our Rugby League community."
Alongside Campese, the night’s honour roll includes the following award winners:
- Holden Volunteer of the Year - Grahame Wagener, Cronulla, NSW.
- Telstra Grassroots Club of the Year – Denman Sandy Hollows Junior Rugby League Club, Hunter Valley, NSW.
- AAMI Service to the Community – Ron Gibbs, Western NSW.
- AAMI Service to Refereeing Award – Kim-Maree Teale, Macarthur, NSW.
- Pullman National Teacher of the Year - Primary – Margie Grant, Farnborough State Primary School, QLD; Secondary – Daniel Higgins, Singleton High School, NSW.
- NRL Young Indigenous League Learn Earn Legend! – Amelia Telford, VIC (Titans Beyond Tomorrow Program).
- Harvey Norman Women in League – Yolande Morris, Darwin, NT.
The background of the winners of the 2013 Community Awards is as follows:
Ken Stephen Medal presented by Telstra
Telstra awarded $5,000 to the winner and $5,000 to their favourite charity.
Winner: Terry Campese (Canberra Raiders)
Campese has raised more than $100,000 for local causes through the Terry Campese Foundation, which he set up to make a difference in a practical way to people of all ages with a range of needs via charities in Canberra, Queanbeyan and Southern NSW. In exceptional circumstances the Foundation provides financial or in-kind support to individuals in need.
Campese is a vocal member of the ACT community as the Ambassador for Ronald McDonald House in Canberra, the ACT Branch of CanTeen and Raising Hope charities, as well as an Ambassador for Menslink ‘Silence is Deadly’ campaign, targeting teenage male depression.
Finalists: Michael Ennis (Bulldogs), Ben Creagh (Dragons), Kurt Gidley (Knights), Tim Mannah (Eels); Nate Myles (Titans); Scott Prince (Broncos), Brent Tate (Cowboys), Joe Galuvao (Sea Eagles), Clint Newton (Panthers), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Roosters), Ben Ross (Sharks), Billy Slater (Storm), Steve Rapira (Warriors) and Lote Tuqiri (Wests Tigers).
Holden National Volunteer of the Year
Holden will provide $5,000 to the winner and $5,000 to their club.
Winner: Grahame Wagener, Cronulla Sutherland Junior Rugby League.
Grahame, President of the Engadine Dragons and a Vice-President of Cronulla Sutherland Junior Rugby League, has been dedicated to advancing Rugby League for more than 30 years. Grahame has established several social initiatives benefiting the community including the Engadine Dragons Junior Disability team.
Finalists: NSW - Amelia Horo (Cranebrook), Jie Pittman (Western Sydney), Leoni Barnett (Five Dock), Charlie Bate (Caringbah), Lisa O’Born (Blayney), Michael Gleeson (Narrabri), Andrew Biddle (Merwether) and Ann Thorburn (Wingham);
QLD - Wendy Caroll (Miles), Greg Bunyoung (Bundaberg), Leanne Thomas (Atherton Tablelands) and Ian Murhpy (Ipswich)
VIC - Brandon Taunoa (Hoppers Crossing)
SA - Terrena Guest (Adelaide).
Harvey Norman Women in League Achievement
Harvey Norman will provide a $5,000 Harvey Norman Gift Card to the winner.
Winner: Yolande Morris (Darwin Rugby League, NT)
Yolande has played a pivotal role in the growth of Rugby League and women’s involvement in the game in the Northern Territory. In 2011 Morris was appointed President of the South Darwin Rugby League Football Club and the South Darwin Sporting League Club and was also Captain of the women’s Rugby League team and the NT Ochres, the Indigenous women’s team.
Together with Pauline Schober, the Northern Territory Women’s Rugby League coach, Morris launched the first women’s competition in the Northern Territory in 2011.
Finalists: Connie Dallas (NSW), Karen Sassine (NSW), Sharon Sellers (SA), Charmain Acton (QLD), Karyn Murphy (QLD).
Telstra One Community Grassroots Club of the Year
Telstra will provide $4,000 to the winning club.
Winner: Denman Sandy Hollow JRLC (Hunter Valley, NSW)
Denman Sandy Hollows Junior Rugby League are passionate about increasing community involvement and do so by subsidising all associated membership and club fees, paying accreditation fees for coaches, league safes, first aid officers and referees.
Club members even build their own fields and are currently constructing and funding two mini fields to complement the two new full-sized fields funded by the local council.
Finalists: Yarrabah Juniors Rugby League (Yarrabah, QLD); Moruya Sharks Senior Rugby League (Moruya, NSW).
AAMI Service to the Community
AAMI will provide $5,000 towards the winning community program.
Winner: Ron Gibbs, Western NSW
Ron Gibbs has been involved in Rugby League and Aboriginal affairs all of his life and the former player continues to promote the positive impact Rugby League has in the community, striving to make a difference in the communities where he works. Ron travels in excess of 80,000km each year running clinics in schools and the broader community and provides significant opportunities to local people to be involved in Rugby League at all levels.
Finalists: Wentworthville United Junior Rugby League Club (TryTime Parramatta, NSW) and David McColl (Merrimac State High School, Gold Coast, QLD).
AAMI Service to Refereeing
AAMI will provide $2,500 to the winner.
Winner: Kim-Maree Teale, (Group 6 Referees Association, NSW)
Teale dedicates her spare time to the local Rugby League club, the Oaks Tigers, as coach of the under 8s team as well as being a mentor, referee, administrator and fundraising advocate for the Group 6 Referees Association. She leads annual charity initiatives in support of various causes such as the Men of League Foundation and led a team of referees in the Relay for Life in September to help raise money for cancer research.
Finalists: Chris Nightingale (ACT), Stan Watson (NSW) and Lloyd Evans (QLD).
Winners: Primary - Margie Grant (Farnborough State High School, QLD); Secondary – Daniel Higgins (Singleton High School, NSW).
Margie Grant has been an avid supporter of Rugby League for almost 40 years since her four brothers played the game as children. She now runs football programs at Farnborough State Primary School where she teaches Physical Education, organising development games for younger age groups and encouraging female participation in her wider district area.
Margie is responsible for organising a highly successful girl’s League Tag competition as part of the sports programs for schools in the Yeppoon area with more than 90 participants this year in Backyard League and a four-week long Tag competition.
Daniel Higgins is a huge asset for Rugby League in the Singleton and Group 21 area as a referee, coach and player mentor. Annually, Daniel coordinates MGC/IGC coaching courses, League Safe courses and Referee courses for his students at Singleton High School where he works as a Year coordinator.
Finalists: Primary - Brook Wilson (Wulguru Warrirors State School, Kirwin, QLD); Paul Sweeney (Narooma Public School, NSW).
Secondary – Isaac Thomas (Rockingham SHS Rugby League Program, Rockingham, WA); Matt Adams (Erindale College, Wanniassa, ACT).
NRL Young Indigenous Learn Earn Legend!
The winner will receive a $5,000 education scholarship from the NRL.
Winner: Amelia Telford (Titans Beyond Tomorrow program).
Amelia, now based in Melbourne, was nominated by the Gold Coast Titans for her involvement in their Titans Beyond Tomorrow program and has just returned from climbing the Himalayas in support of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.
She deferred her acceptance into medicine and surgery at university to spend the past year as the Indigenous Engagement Coordinator for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. She has also led sustainability activities at Trinity College, where she developed a program with an aim for the college to use 100 per cent renewable energy across the campus by 2023.
Amelia was accepted into the Antarctic Youth Ambassador Program, travelling to Antarctica in February this year with young people from all across the world who are advocating for action on climate change and sustainability in their home communities.
A Minjungbal woman from the Bundjalung nation in Northern NSW, Amelia has also been involved in the organisation of Power Shift, a youth climate summit held in Melbourne involving 2000 young people working together to change the game in climate control.
Finalists: Jordyn-Lee Colless (Parramatta Eels, NSW) and Sarah-Maree Allen (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, NSW).
Pullman National Teacher of the Year – Primary and Secondary
Four nights for two people at the Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney Pullman with flights from nearest capital city.