Ryan Among Ken Stephen Medal Nominees

Bulldogs captain Andrew Ryan is among the 15 NRL stars to be nominated for this year’s prestigious Telstra Ken Stephen Medal for outstanding community service, to be presented during Grand Final Week for the first time. <br><br> Awarded to a player who demonstrates service to the game, both on and off the field, the Telstra Ken Stephen Medal has been won by some of rugby league’s finest players including Nathan Hindmarsh, Jason Stevens, David Peachey, Preston Campbell, Hazem El Masri, and Andrew Ettingshausen. <br><br> Established in 1988, the medal is named after the late Ken Stephen, who dedicated more than 28 years to rugby league as a player, community advocate and administrator. <br><br> “Players across rugby league dedicate in excess of 22,000 hours to community activities each year,” NRL Chief Executive David Gallop said. <br><br> “There is a special group of players that continually go above and beyond the call of duty and this is what the Telstra Ken Stephen Medal aims to recognise.” <br><br> The Telstra Ken Stephen Medallist will be announced at rugby league’s annual One Community Awards which will take place during Grand Final Week for the first time, on September 27 at Sydney Town Hall. The winner will receive $5,000 from Telstra, with a further $5,000 to be donated by Telstra to the winner’s favourite charity. The One Community Awards each year sees more than 250 rugby league grass-roots volunteers, teachers, referees, development officers and administrators come together with some of the stars of the game for an evening that shines the spotlight on the difference Rugby League is making in the community. <br><br> The 2010 Telstra Ken Stephen Medal nominees are: <br><br> Aaron Heremaia, New Zealand Warriors – Aaron has taken on a mentor role with the Dream Youth Centre Extreme (DYCE) youth centre in his hometown of Manurewa, New Zealand. Aaron’s work with the centre has inspired him to seek further training so he can continue his youth work after his rugby league career. <br><br> Andrew Ryan, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs – Andrew is a spokesperson for the Bandaged Bear Cup at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and an ambassador for the Australian Disability Foundation. In 2000 he initiated the Andrew Ryan Captain’s Cup to support up-and-coming rugby league players and has also worked with Camp Quality, Beyond Blue and Greening Australia. <br><br> Anthony Cherrington, Sydney Roosters – A knee injury has allowed Anthony to dedicate much of his time to his charity endeavours. This has seen him take part in weekly community and hospital visits, as well as doing appearances for the Steggles Sydney Roosters Charity Nest. <br><br> Chris Heighington, Wests Tigers – Chris has worked as an avid ambassador for the Wests Tigers anti-bullying program and has visited many schools throughout 2010. Chris has also dedicated much time towards the Wests Tigers partnership with the Exodus Foundation Tutorial Centre, which he visits monthly to read with the kids. <br><br> Corey Parker, Brisbane Broncos – Corey holds ambassador roles with the Starlight Children’s Foundation, BoysTown, the Autism Early Intervention Outcomes Unit (AEIOU) and HUSH for Homelessness. Corey is also involved in club community activities through Broncos in the Community, including the Broncos Book Club, the McIntyre Centre and the Daniel Morcombe Foundation. <br><br> David Williams, Manly Sea Eagles – With injury ruling David out of the entire 2010 season, he has channelled his free time into working across all of the Sea Eagles community programs. This has seen David supporting schools, local charities and league related carnivals. He has also played a very important role in the refurbishment of the ‘Eagles Nest’ at Royal Far West, Manly. <br><br> Jarrod Mullen, Newcastle Knights – For more than a year Jarrod has been an ambassador for the Starlight Children’s Foundation and he is a frequent visitor to the Starlight Room at John Hunter Hospital. He is also a frequent visitor to Ronald McDonald House at the hospital. Growing up in Newcastle, he is particularly passionate about working in the local community and supporting the Knights’ fans. <br><br> Luke Priddis, St George Illawarra Dragons – Luke shows constant commitment to the Dragons Community program and has a reputation at the club for going above and beyond in his off field commitments. While committing to many activities with Dragons Community, Luke is also constantly raising awareness for his own charity – the Luke Priddis Foundation. This was established in 2006 after his son Cooper was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). <br><br> Preston Campbell, Gold Coast Titans – Preston Campbell was the recipient of the 2008 Telstra Ken Stephen Medal and is again nominated this year for his continued commitment to the community. This year Preston worked with the NRL to inspire the tremendously successful rugby league All Stars match. In addition to this Preston has donated much of his time to the club, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations’ “Learn, Earn, Legend!” campaign and many personal charity interests. <br><br> Petero Civoniceva, Penrith Panthers – Together with the Panthers, Petero has set up the Panthers Mentoring Program to support members of the NRL team in their lives off the field. Each month Petero oversees a team dinner that includes ten mentors from the community. The group was established in 2009 and together they discuss everything from financial advice to seeking further career training. <br><br> Reece Williams, Cronulla Sharks – An injury at the beginning of the season gave Reece more time to support the Sharks community programs, in particular the Sharks Footy Fever Program. This has included him attending every session to take on a coaching and mentoring role with the participants. Reece was also involved with the Sharks’ White Ribbon activity and the David Peachey Shield event in Dubbo. <br><br> Ryan Hoffman, Melbourne Storm – Ryan is an ambassador for Heartkids, a national charity that is solely focused on Childhood Heart Disease (CHD), which is the greatest killer of young Australian children under the age of five. Ryan is a regular visitor to the hospital and is constantly bringing a smile to the face of some very sick children. <br><br> Scott Bolton, North Queensland Cowboys – Throughout 2010 Scott has worked closely with Vincent State School, as part of the Cowboys’ Adopt-A-School program. This saw Scott form a close friendship with seven year old cancer sufferer Jacob Biffen. Other community work that Scott has undertaken in 2010 includes: National Tree Day, Cowboys in the Classroom, Townsville and the 2010 Laurie Spine Shield. <br><br> Terry Campese, Canberra Raiders – Terry is at the forefront of the Raiders’ Reaching Out community project and he is well known at the club for enlisting the support of other players for a variety of causes. Terry is an ambassador for White Ribbon Day and is a healthy eating ambassador for Avocados Australia. Terry has also undertaken roles with the Raiders 2010 Adopt-a-Raider Program, Ronald McDonald House and the Men of League Bowls Day. <br><br> Tim Mannah, Parramatta Eels – In addition to his on-field achievements in 2010, Tim also managed to work on a number of community projects throughout the year. In the 2009/2010 off-season Tim flew to Rwanda to help build a village with Hope Rwanda. His brother’s battle with cancer inspired Tim to take on an ambassador role with the Cancer Council’s Call to Arms campaign. Tim has also been involved with the youth charity Streetworx for a number of years. <br><br> The South Sydney Rabbitohs this year chose not to nominate a player for the Ken Stephen Medal as they did not feel they could select a single player for nomination. Instead, the club has nominated their playing group and Souths Cares program for the Telstra One Community NRL Club of the Year Award. <br><br> Finalists for the remaining One Community Awards categories will be announced in early September. <br><br> Ken Stephen Medal Honour Roll <br><br> 1988 Wayne Pearce (Balmain) 1989 Ricky Walford (St George) 1990 Michael Bolt (Illawarra) 1991 Pat Jarvis (Norths) 1992 Peter Sterling (Parramatta) 1993 Michael Andrews (Souths) 1994 Ian Roberts (Manly) 1995 Rod Wishart (Illawarra) 1996 Not awarded 1997 Paul Harragon (Newcastle) 1998 Mark Coyne (St George) 1999 Andrew Ettingshausen (Cronulla) 2000 Nathan Blacklock(St George Illawarra) 2001 Parramatta club 2002 Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs) 2003 David Peachey (Cronulla) 2004 Dean Widders (Parramatta) 2005 Jason Stevens (Cronulla) 2006 Michael Monaghan (Manly) 2007 Ruben Wiki (Warriors) 2008 Preston Campbell (Titans) 2009 Nathan Hindmarsh (Parramatta)