An award recognising the efforts of an NRL player who has not only achieved on the field but has given up countless hours off the field to community projects, the Ken Stephen Medal sees players nominated by their NRL club for going above and beyond in their involvement in charity work, youth development or community support.
Many of the Sharks playing group are regular and committed participants in events, with charities and in programs supported by Sharks Have Heart, the club’s community arm, while a number of players also make significant contributions away from the spotlight in lending their profile and support to initiatives holding special personal meaning.
One of those players standing out for his community involvement this season and the Sharks nominee for the 2020 Ken Stephen Medal, is Ronaldo Mulitalo, a young man who appreciates his privileged position as an NRL player and is happy to give back and make a difference where he can.
Taking on an ambassadorial role with youth homelessness organisation Stepping Stone House recently, coupled with his outstanding commitment to club community initiatives, not to mention his passionate support of good friend Fine Kula throughout his battles with brain cancer, and Mulitalo is a shining light, not just at the Sharks but throughout the NRL, for his selfless contribution to numerous worthwhile causes.
This year fans have been invited to cast their vote for the Ken Stephen Medal nominee they would like to see become one of four finalists.
Three of the four finalists will be voted by a panel of judges (including inaugural Ken Stephen Medallist and Australian Rugby League Commissioner, Wayne Pearce) with one finalist to be selected by fans.
Well documented has been some of Mulitalo’s activities, not the least of which his recent #Give5andGet5 initiative for Stepping Stone House in raising much-needed funds for the organisation doing an outstanding job in assisting homeless youth.
Starting with a target of $10,000, Mulitalo has exceeded that amount and remains determined to continue his fundraising efforts.
A Channel 9 News interview with reporter Danny Weidler saw Mulitalo talk about the tough personal upbringing which has inspired him to help young people in need through his association with Stepping Stone House.
To see the Channel 9 News piece – CLICK HERE
Despite only being 20-years of age and amongst the lesser experienced and established members of the Sharks NRL squad, Mulitalo has been a leader for the Sharks Have Heart community appearances in recent seasons.
In 2019, his first year as a full-time NRL squad member, Mulitalo led the community hours logged by any Sharks player with 110 hours contributed. This effort was backed up in early 2020, where he once again led the community appearance hours for the Club, clocking up over 30 before Covid-19 restrictions curtailed a number of activities.
In addition, during the past off season he was a part of a delegation which travelled to Papua New Guinea to engage with the locals and to assist in building a community hall and install a rain water collection system, while also finding time to deliver the NRL’s Voice Against Violence and League in Life programmes to local PNG school children.
In early 2020 Mulitalo took part in the Sharks Bushfire Relief efforts, assisting with the clean-up in Kangaroo Valley, he visited Bates Drive Public School to help deliver the Sharks All Abilities School Program to children with disability, leading to him becoming the Sharks All Abilities Program Ambassador. He has also been a regular at the award-winning Skillz4Me, a Sharks supported program based in Caringbah that delivers weekly sports and social programs for families with children with disability.
A fine player with a big future in the game and a young man of great character away from rugby league, Mulitalo leads the way with his efforts in the community and is more than worthy of his Ken Stephen award nomination.
Cast a vote for Ronaldo to ensure he is one of the four finalists. Voting for this years’ nominees is officially open and will close on Sunday, September 20, with the final four nominees to be announced later this month.
Go to the link on the NRL.com website to vote now – CLICK HERE