Ken Stephen Medal nominees announced

A host of big name NRL players including Darius Boyd, Joel Thompson, Kayln Ponga and Latrell Mitchell are in line for one of rugby league's highest off-field honours – the 2018 Ken Stephen Medal, to be presented at the Dally M Awards.

Recognising and celebrating the off-field efforts of NRL players, each Ken Stephen Medal nominee has been nominated by their club for going above and beyond in their involvement in charity work, youth development or community support throughout the year.

NRL Head of Government and Community Relations, Jaymes Boland-Rudder congratulated all nominees on their achievements off the field.

"These nominees are just some of the many players within clubs and communities that lend a helping hand where and when they can to all number of charities, hospitals and others in need," Mr Boland-Rudder said.

"Many of the stories and acts of kindness go un-noticed and un-told, although we regularly hear from members of the public about a player taking time out to give back and make a difference for the better.

"As a sport, we have a powerful voice and an even greater opportunity for everyone involved to continue to look out for one another, support each other when times are tough, and ensure that together, our communities are prosperous."

Previous Ken Stephen Medal winners include Sam Tagataese, Trent Hodkinson, Jonathan Thurston, Sam Thaiday, Nathan Hindmarsh and Preston Campbell.

The Ken Stephen Medal forms part of the NRL Community Awards, acknowledging some of rugby league's unsung community heroes for the tireless work they do for the game they love.

The awards are an important way to recognise and celebrate a small number of many that make a positive difference within their communities.

This year's Ken Stephen Medal is sponsored by P & O Cruises (with the winner provided with a cruise) and SkillsRoad, via the New South Wales Business Chamber (with $5,000 donated to the winner's charity of choice).

The 2018 Ken Stephen Medal nominees are:

Brisbane Broncos: Darius Boyd
Canberra Raiders: Sam Williams
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: Adam Elliott
Cronulla Sharks: Edrick Lee
Gold Coast Titans: Ryan James
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles: Joel Thompson
Melbourne Storm: Christian Welch
Newcastle Knights: Kayln Ponga
North Queensland Cowboys: Jake Granville
Parramatta Eels: Cameron King
Penrith Panthers: Trent Merrin
St George-Illawarra Dragons: Matt Dufty
Sydney Roosters: Latrell Mitchell
Wests Tigers: Josh Aloiai