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The NRL’s annual Community Awards will include a new award in 2019, with the inclusion of an NRLW Community Medal, reciprocal to the prestigious Ken Stephen Medal.

Criteria for the new medal will be similar to the men’s award, with the eventual female recipient having demonstrated their commitment to making a difference in their local community, whilst playing rugby league at an elite level throughout the year.

The NRL Community Awards will now feature eight categories, with all categories now open for State Leagues and NRL clubs to submit nominations.

Award categories for 2019 are:

  • NRLW Community Medal
  • Volunteer of the Year
  • Teacher of the Year
  • Young Person of the Year
  • Women In League Award
  • Grassroots Club of the Year
  • Community Program of the Year
  • Ken Stephen Medal

NRL Head of Government and Community Relations, Jaymes Boland-Rudder said the awards were an important recognition each year, showcasing a fraction of the tireless work carried out by selfless volunteers, players, coaches and fans within local communities.

“Since the commencement of the community awards in 2007, we’ve uncovered many inspiring stories of men, women and children that love their rugby league and go above and beyond to see the game improve and succeed – no matter their age, gender, skill or level,” Mr Boland-Rudder said.

“I’m delighted that we are adding what we’re currently calling an NRLW Community Medal to the awards this year, which will recognise the player who has made significant contributions off the field through charity work, youth development or community support.

“In the spirit of the awards, the NRL is calling on fans of our women’s game in particular, to help us name the award.”

NRL General Manager of Women’s Elite Program, Tiffany Slater expected there would be plenty of debate and nominations put forward for the name of the new medal.

“There are many past and present women involved in our game and across all levels of rugby league that are more than worthy of having this honour bestowed on them and I look forward to hearing from the public as to who they think this new medal should be named after,” Ms Slater said.

Naming nominations are open from today for two weeks, with fans encouraged to visit the NRL Community Awards website and record their suggestions.

A judging panel, consisting of NRL and State representatives, will make a final decision on the name later this year, before all community awards are officially announced during the Finals Series and Women’s Premiership.

For more information on the NRL Community Awards and to cast your naming nomination, visit www.nrl.com/community/awards