All Stars playing for 'Preston Campbell Medal'

The Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars will honour Indigenous All Stars captain Preston Campbell tonight, when the fans select the ‘Man of the Match’, who will be presented with the aptly named Preston Campbell Medal.<br><br>In a decision by the NRL, ARL and ARL Indigenous Council, the Man of the Match award has been named in recognition of Preston’s outstanding work with Indigenous communities and his role as Captain of the inaugural Indigenous All Stars side.<br><br>The naming of the award was only decided in the last week, with both NRL All Stars coach Wayne Bennett and Indigenous All Stars coach Neil Henry lending their full support to the medal’s namesake.<br><br>Rugby League fans will play a crucial part in awarding the game’s newest honour. Continuing the fans’ involvement in the selection of both the Indigenous All Stars and NRL All Stars teams, tonight’s crowd and television viewers will decide the inaugural Preston Campbell Medallist via SMS at the ground and during the Nine Network’s television coverage of the game.<br><br>Humbled by the decision, Preston Campbell said today:<br><br>“I am really honoured that I’ve left my mark on this match, but the All Stars game is not about me. <br><br>“From the start, all of the boys have been right behind this game because we are proud of our heritage and our people.<br><br>“There’s been a lot of talk this week about what this match means to the community and tonight we are not only playing for ourselves but also for our community – our families, our friends, our people and all of the Indigenous players of the past who have paved the way for this match.”<br><br>NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop today congratulated Preston on the accolade and his untiring commitment to supporting Indigenous communities across Australia.<br><br>“Preston is a great ambassador for Rugby League and for the Indigenous peoples of Australia, and we are proud to have his leadership and passion in our game,” Mr Gallop said.<br><br>“We are pleased to announce the Preston Campbell Medal today as another mark of respect to the endless work Preston does to assist Indigenous communities day in and day out.”<br><br>ARL Indigenous Council Chairman, Mr William ‘Smiley’ Johnstone was also full of praise for Preston’s contribution to Australia’s Indigenous communities.<br><br>“We chose to name the man of the match in tribute to Preston for being such an unbelievable inspiration and contributor to the betterment of our people,” Mr Johnstone said.<br><br>“Preston gives so much back to Indigenous communities throughout the country and makes such a tremendous difference to so many people’s lives.”<br><br>The winner of the inaugural Preston Campbell Medal will be announced at the conclusion of tonight’s Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars match after the spectator and TV viewer SMS votes are tallied.<br><br>“As captain of the Indigenous All Stars side, Preston embodies the qualities of a true leader and I know all the fans cannot wait to pay their respects and show their appreciation to him when he takes the field tonight,” ARL Chief Executive, Mr Geoff Carr said.<br><br>As the naming of this award was only decided this past week, the inaugural Preston Campbell Medal will be presented to the Man of the Match at a later date.