The 2020 season is here, which means the NRL Community Awards are back. Keep your eyes peeled for more information to come.
About the Medal
The Ken Stephen Medal recognises the efforts of an NRL player who has not only achieved on the field, but has committed time off the field to community projects.
This year was the 31st instance that the Ken Stephen Medal has been awarded, with a host of worthy recipients receiving this prestigious award since Wayne Pearce won the inaugural medal in 1988, including Ryan James, Joel Thompson, Jonathan Thurston and Nathan Hindmarsh.
James Tedesco, Josh Addo-Carr, Gavin Cooper, Connor Watson and Sia Soliola were amongst some of the game’s biggest names to be nominated by their clubs for the 2019 Ken Stephen Medal.
The 2019 Ken Stephen Medallist was announced during Grand Final week. Through NRL.com, fans had the opportunity to select the nominee they felt deserved to be a finalist. A panel of experts from across the game selected the remaining three finalists and eventual winner.
The 2019 Ken Stephen Medal is proudly supported by wealth, property and well-being consultancy, One Solutions.
Sia Soliola, Canberra Raiders
Our 2019 Ken Stephen Medallist is Canberra Raiders' Sia Soliola - a champion on and off the field!
2019 Ken Stephen Medal Finalist - Sia Soliola
Sia is the consummate club professional in his understanding and dedication to promoting both the game of rugby league and the Canberra Raiders. He understands his role both as a club leader where he is often referred to in the media as the “spiritual leader” and someone who brings the internal values of the Raiders to life.
As part of his club commitments, Sia has been involved in an extensive range of activities including Shave for a Cure, NRLD School Holiday Clinic and McHappy Day.
Sia works each Monday (even after a heavy game the day before) in the Early Morning Centre’s Soup Kitchen as his commitment to improving the lives of people who experience homelessness.This is an extension to Sia’s work raising money through the Vinnie’s CEO Sleepout and has been an on-going commitment for more than three years.
Sia has a long-term associations with a range of charitable organisations. He is a well-known ambassador for children with Angelman’s Syndrome - an association which began during his time playing in the UK. He also works with Kulture Break that uses the performing arts to assist disadvantaged children. The Raiders have had a long-standing relationship with Menslink, an organisation that specialises in counselling at-risk young men which Sia has become an ambassador for and he’s also the face of the Silence is Deadly program.
Apart from the breadth of Sia’s involvement in areas outside of his Raiders commitments, it is the long-term commitment he has made to many programs which demonstrates that his dedication goes well beyond any passing fad or box-ticking exercise.
'It's personal': Tedesco's passion for mental health awareness
'Man of service' Winterstein a shining light for youngsters
Hard-working Cooper delivering the big hits educating Generation Next
'You can't explain the feeling': Brown's commitment to helping others