Some of the biggest names in rugby league, included amongst them Sharks skipper Paul Gallen, have been nominated by their clubs for the 2016 Ken Stephen Medal.
Gallen joins a list of nominees which includes Darius Boyd, Trent Merrin, Trent Hodkinson, Moses Mbye and Tim Mannah for an award which recognises the efforts of an NRL player who has not only achieved success and leadership on-field, but contributed to community projects off-field to make a positive difference and inspire change.
Voting has opened for the 2016 Ken Stephen Medallist, with fans encouraged to select the player they believe best reflects leadership qualities befitting of the medal.
NRL General Manager of Community, Ellen Beale said the nominated players had all demonstrated exceptional community service throughout the season, quite often away from the media and public.
“Rugby League is fortunate to have strong community values and players across all levels of the game who support one another and their local communities,” Ms Beale said.
“Our NRL players are to be commended for their support and commitment to helping others less fortunate and the nominees for this year’s Ken Stephen Medal are among some of the best in our game when it comes to service and sacrifice off the field.”
A father of three, Gallen was nominated for his contribution to the community at many levels.
Donating over 75 hours of his time at over 30 Sharks community events this season, not to mention countless other personal appearances and community work conducted outside the auspices of the Cronulla club, Gallen goes over and beyond with his commitment to charities and junior rugby league, touching the hearts of many families and individuals.
He is currently an ambassador for a variety of charities and organisations including FSHD Global, the Bingham Cup (Gay rugby league) and the Sharks Make Bullying History Initiative, a significant community program which was launched earlier this year.
All Ken Stephen Medal nominees this year will be officially congratulated and recognised at the 2016 NRL Community Awards, with nominees forming the inaugural NRL Community Team of the Year. The Ken Stephen Medal will then be awarded during the 2016 Dally M Awards night.
2016 Ken Stephen Medal nominees.
Paul Gallen – Cronulla Sharks
Darius Boyd – Brisbane Broncos
Sia Soliola – Canberra Raiders
Moses Mbye – Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
William Zillman – Gold Coast Titans
Brenton Lawrence – Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Nelson Asofa Solomona – Melbourne Storm
Trent Hodkinson – Newcastle Knights
John Asiata – North Queensland Cowboys
Tim Mannah – Parramatta Eels
Trent Merrin – Penrith Panthers
Joel Thompson – St George Illawarra Dragons
Kane Evans – Sydney Roosters
James Gavet – New Zealand Warriors
Dene Halatau – Wests Tigers
To find out more on all Ken Stephen nominees and to vote, head to NRL.Com/KenStephenMedal