A junior Rugby League Club helping children with disabilities, a school teacher encouraging girls to play Rugby League and a long-time advocate of using Rugby League to improve social cohesion in the Indigenous community have today been announced as finalists for the 2013 Service to the Community Award, part of the NRL One Community Awards that will kick off the Telstra Premiership Grand Final Week.
The finalists for this prestigious award are: Wentworthville United Junior Rugby League Club for establishing TRYTIME, a special needs Rugby League program helping children in the Parramatta area with disabilities to develop confidence; Ron Gibbs, who uses Rugby League to improve social cohesion in the Indigenous community in Western NSW; and David McColl, a teacher at Merrimac State High School who is responsible for launching a development program for girls to play the sport as a curriculum subject through PDHPE.
“The kids absolutely love the game, try their utmost to improve their skills and all help each other to learn through their friendships,” says Allan McGowan, Wentworthville United Junior Rugby League Football Club Secretary.
“I think it’s what sport really is all about; allowing children to feel a sense of self worth, a sense of achievement and the realisation that they can be whatever they want to be no matter what hurdles they may face along the way.”
The winner, who will be judged on how they have met the needs of the local community and improved the impact of Rugby League on the wider community, will be announced on Monday week (30 September) at Sydney’s Town Hall.
“Every year we are blown away by the tireless contributions made by those in the grassroots Rugby League community,” said NRL Interim Community, Culture and Diversity General Manager, Mr Mark deWeerd.
“The efforts made by the 2013 finalists continue to inspire me and I couldn’t be more proud that the NRL is able to highlight the significant role volunteers play in our Game.”
The One Community Awards has a prize pool of over $50,000 across eight award categories including the Ken Stephen Medal presented by Telstra, Holden National Volunteer of the Year, Harvey Norman Women in League Achievement Awards (Professional and Volunteer), Telstra One Community Grassroots Club of the Year, AAMI Service to Refereeing, AAMI Service to the Community Award, National Teacher of the Year (Primary and Secondary School) and the Young Indigenous Learn Earn Legend! Award.
The 2013 Ken Stephen Medal finalists were announced last month with club captains Michael Ennis, Terry Campese, Ben Creagh, Tim Mannah, Kurt Gidley and Nate Myles among the 15 nominated NRL players.