The NRL today announced the finalists for this year's NRL Community and Player Education Awards.
Now in its ninth year, the awards recognise Rugby League's unsung heroes for the tireless work they do to support the game they love.
From volunteer coaches and teachers, to players at first-grade level, the awards pause to honour, reflect and congratulate those who make a positive difference for many in their community.
This year, the award categories have been expanded to encompass player education, recognising players achieving academic excellence and commitment to furthering their careers off the field.
"This year's finalists are representative of what Rugby League is all about," said Adam Check, NRL Head of Community.
"These finalists are not looking for accolades – such is their humility, they are nominated by their peers who realise they are the heart and soul of their community and deserving of recognition."
Player education categories presented on the evening will include NRL and National Youth Competition (NYC) Academic Team’s of the Year, NYC Apprentice of the Year Award, NRL Pasifika Academic Excellence and NRL Indigenous Academic Excellence.
"These awards are our chance to recognise and celebrate those players who have demonstrated a long term and genuine commitment to their studies and careers beyond the football field,” said Paul Heptonstall, NRL Senior Welfare and Education Manager.
"Throughout 2015, four in five NRL and NYC players were engaged in further education or workplace training, with more than 200 NRL players studying at one of 30 universities across Australia and New Zealand. This is in addition to the 150 players undertaking an apprenticeship and the 350 players completing a certificate at a diploma level.”
The NRL Community and Player Education Awards will be held at Sheraton on the Park in Sydney on Friday 2 October and will be live streamed online via nrl.com/communityawards from 7:00pm.