About The Awards

Established in 2007, the NRL Community Awards have become the most significant opportunity for our game's unsung heroes such as volunteer coaches, community administrators, referees, teachers and grassroots clubs to receive the recognition and thanks that they deserve for the tireless work they do in the community.

The Awards also provide an opportunity for us to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution that the NRL, clubs, and players make year on year to their communities.

Nominations are received from our State Leagues, NRL Clubs, and NRL Game Development staff. Over the years, the Awards have evolved with the number and types varying each year. Read on for further details on each award that we'll be presenting in 2018.

Ken Stephen Medal

 The Ken Stephen Medal recognises the efforts of an NRL player who has not only achieved on the field, but has also committed time off the field to community projects.

A player is nominated by their club for their involvement in charity work, youth development or community support. The nominated player will have consistently demonstrated their commitment to making a difference in their community and be seen as a role model in this area at their club. 

The Ken Stephen Medal has been awarded to a host of worthy recipients since 1988, winners over the past 10 years include:

  • 2017 Sam Tagataese (Sharks)
  • 2016 Joel Thompson (Dragons)
  • 2015 Luke Douglas (Titans)
  • 2014 Trent Hodkinson (Bulldogs)
  • 2013 Terry Campese (Raiders)
  • 2012 Jonathan Thurston (Cowboys)
  • 2011 Sam Thaiday (Broncos)
  • 2010 Andrew Ryan (Bulldogs)
  • 2009 Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels)
  • 2008 Preston Campbell (Titans)
  • 2007 Ruben Wiki (Warriors)

This year's winner will be announced on-field during the 2018 NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final.

Volunteer of the Year

The Volunteer of the Year award is presented to a volunteer who has provided an exceptional service to the game and made a measurable difference in their community. The winner will have demonstrated the NRL's beliefs of inclusivity, positivity, unitedness and discipline.

In 2017, NSWRL's Darren Deitz won the award due to the huge success of the Try Time program and it's inspirational growth last year. His program not only allowed those with special needs and intellectual disabilities to play the game they love, but had a huge impact on the Parramatta Junior League players they took to the field against. 

This year's national winner will be announced during the 2018 NRL Telstra Premiership Finals Series.

Grassroots Club of the Year

The Grassroots Club of the Year award is presented to a rugby league club that has fostered participation and enjoyment at all levels. The club will have become an integral part of their local community and will have shown innovation in its administration.

In 2017, QRL's Murgon Junior Rugby League Club stood out because of the exceptional community service that the club provided last year, recovering from a period of instability to deliver an array of initiatves that greatly benefitted the local community that it represents. 

This year's national winner will be announced during the 2018 NRL Telstra Premiership Finals Series.

Teacher of the Year

The Teacher of the Year will have demonstrated exceptional support of rugby league through the provision of opportunities for students to be involved in practical activities within their school or district, as well as by engaging students through the integration of NRL's educational programs in the classroom.

In 2017,  NRL VIC's Travis McIntosh won the award because of his role as an advocate for rugby league over the last ten years. Travis ensured that students gave back to local schools, sports clubs, and the wider community, as well as creating ample opportunities for personal development within the sporting industry.

This year's national winner will be announced during the 2018 NRL Telstra Premiership Finals Series.

Women In League Achievement Award

The Women In League Achievement Award is presented to someone who has acted as an exceptional advocate for the advancement and opportunity of women in rugby league. The winner's unique contributions will have raised awareness of women's involvement in rugby league, and will have played an active role in encouraging more girls and women to participate in the game.

In 2017, QRL's Jacqueline Jones won the award due to the huge number of examples where she had actively encouraged female participation in rugby league. Under Jacqueline's leadership, Gladstone's senior and junior female competitions are not only in safe hands, but are sure to go from strength to strength. 

This year's national winner will be announced during the 2018 NRL Telstra Premiership Finals Series. 

NRL Club Community Program of the Year

The NRL Club Community Program of the Year recognises, celebrates and rewards excellent and innovative programs which significantly improve outcomes for their community and foster a culture of learning, supporting and sharing of excellent practice.

In 2017, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs won the award because of the significant role that it plays in assisting refugees and newly arrived migrants to settle in Australia through Rugby League - promoting social harmony and cohesion in areas that are among the most diverse, and most disadvantaged, in Sydney. These communities have a great deal at stake and the Bulldogs has stood up to the challenge, bringing together local councils, organisations, schools and students to participate in a crucial program. 

This year's national winner will be announced during the 2018 NRL Telstra Premiership Finals Series.