Ken Stephen Medal: Young Tonumaipea
Melbourne Storm winger Young Tonumaipea has been nominated for the 2017 Ken Stephen Medal.
A boyhood Storm fan and only the third Victorian to represent the club, Young will never take for granted how lucky he is to be playing the sport he loves.
The fleet-footed winger is committed to using his profile, as a professional rugby league player, to make a difference.
Deeply in touch with his roots, Young regularly returns to the local JRL club where it all began for him. He shares his experiences in order to inspire the next generation of rugby league stars. Young has also led workshops at his former high school to encourage students to engage in their education and follow their dreams.
Young started the season by co-captaining his side at the Auckland Nines and it is clear to see why: Young easily connects with anyone. In 2017, he has attended local juvenile justice centres, spent time with the families of sick children at the Melbourne Zoo, and visited a local rugby league player who had survived a fatal car accident at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Whatever the circumstances, Young is determined to bring a smile to the faces of those he meets.
And, in-between pushing to become a regular fixture in Craig Bellamy's side, Young even found time to hand-deliver ice-cold Powerades to local tradesmen on a 37-degree day this January.
The Ken Stephen Medal
Ken Stephen was an administrator who devoted 28 years to the NSWRL in various capacities. He retired shortly before his death in 1988. The Ken Stephen Medal recognises the efforts of an NRL player, who has not only achieved on the field, but has also committed time off the field to community projects.
A player is nominated by their NRL club for their involvement in charity work, youth development or community support. The nominated player will have consistently demonstrated their commitment to making a difference in their community and be seen as a role model in this area at their NRL club.
The NRL Community Awards recognise Rugby League's unsung heroes for the tireless work they do to support the game they love. From volunteers and teachers, to players at a first-grade level, the awards pause to honour, reflect and congratulate those who make a positive difference for many in their communities, week after week.