Josh Dugan has been named amongst some of the NRL’s biggest names as a nominee for the 2019 Ken Stephen Medal, an award recognising the outstanding work carried out by NRL players in the community

Dugan joins the likes of James Tedesco, Josh Addo-Carr, Gavin Cooper, Connor Watson and Michael Gordon amongst the players nominated by their clubs for the prestigious community award.

The 2019 Ken Stephen Medallist will be announced during Grand Final week, with voting now open on NRL.com providing fans the opportunity to select the nominee they feel deserves to be a finalist.

The player with the highest number of votes will be included as one of four finalists announced next month. Three other player finalists will be voted via a panel of judges from across the game’s administration.

This is the 31st year of the Ken Stephen Medal, with the award recognising the efforts of an NRL player who has not only achieved on the field but has committed time off the field to supporting community projects.

In addition to his club-related and organised community initiatives, Dugan has been extremely active, devoting his time and resources to several worthy causes.

Dugan is an ambassador for the Make Bullying History Foundation, regularly joining founder and presenter Brett Murray in local schools spreading the anti-bullying messages, while he is also a staunch supporter of Bear Cottage.

A hospice for terminally ill children located in Sydney’s northern suburbs, Bear Cottage provides support for both the children and their families, with Dugan shaving his ‘mullet’ in raising much-needed funds for the organisation.

He is also an NRL State of Mind ambassador, took it upon himself to invite 15 children with from a local area high school’s Special Needs Unit to a Sharks NRL training session as part of National Autism Day and has been a strong advocate for the Deadly Choices, an indigenous health awareness program, attending media days, VIP sessions for guests and player education sessions.

In 2019 a reciprocal medal for a female NRL player has also been introduced – the Veronica White Medal – with nominees also announced next month.

NRL Head of Government and Community Relations, Jaymes Boland-Rudder said this year’s Ken Stephen Medal nominees showcased a glimpse of a majority of NRL players that privately support community and charitable initiatives throughout the year.

“Each of the nominees have had wonderful seasons to date and are to be congratulated for focusing their efforts off the field in a range of positive ways, ultimately benefiting their local communities,” Mr Boland-Rudder said.

“Regardless of the final award, I thank these nominees – and many more – for their support of the NRL, club and personal community programs throughout the year.”

Fan voting is open on the NRL’s community page on NRL.com through to 9:00am on Monday 19 August, with the panel of judges also making their final selections on the same day.

To vote and for more information on the Ken Stephen Medal, go to https://www.nrl.com/community/awards/ken-stephen-medal/

 The 2019 Ken Stephen Medal nominees are:

Andrew McCullough – Brisbane Broncos
Sia Soliola – Canberra Raiders
Adam Elliot – Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Josh Dugan – Cronulla Sharks
Michael Gordon – Gold Coast Titans
Joel Thompson – Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Josh Addo-Carr – Melbourne Storm
Connor Watson – Newcastle Knights
Gavin Cooper – North Queensland Cowboys
Nathan Brown – Parramatta Eels
Frank Winterstein – Penrith Panthers
Corey Norman – St George-Illawarra Dragons
James Tedesco – Sydney Roosters
Agnatius Paasi – New Zealand Warriors
Josh Aloiai – Wests Tigers