Despite a number of road blocks due to the Covid related restrictions, the Sharks engaged and supported the community once again in 2021.
Players visited schools when they could, attended events until they were largely shut down and interacted throughout the year with community organisations via virtual zooms and video conferencing communications.
Many events, causes and initiatives were organised through Sharks Have Heart, the Sharks charity arm, with the players often taking it upon themselves to give back and use their profile to make a difference in the community.
All at the Sharks are willing contributors, however many go over and above, and there was a standout for the Sharks Have Heart community award for 2021.
Ronaldo Mulitalo, the Sharks nominee for the NRL’s prestigious Ken Stephen Medal, was singled out and presented the significant accolade at an informal NRL presentation event held in the teams Brisbane hub on Monday.
His award was presented by good friend and mentor Andrew Fifita and in a typically selfless gesture, Mulitalo immediately re-gifted the prize given to him as the Sharks Have Heart community award winner back to Fifita for the guidance and support he receives from his senior teammate.
Mulitalo’s character was emphasised at a recent game held in Mackay when despite suffering a severe facial injury during the match, he farewelled and thanked the crowd before gifting his boots to a young fan.
Mulitalo willingly gives his time and lends his profile to numerous causes, in particular through his relationship with Stepping Stone House, the award-winning charity that gives displaced young people a safe home along with educational and employment opportunities.
He is also a regular visitor to the Sharks supported Skillz4Me program which delivers weekly sports and social programs for families with children with disability and in 2020 his support for friend and former teammate Fine Kula was unconditional.
More recently, Mulitalo again displayed his passion to giving back by connecting with a young Sharks fan Conrad, who is battling Leukemia.
There were many noteworthy community contributors in 2021, however Ronaldo Mulitalo was a worthy winner of the Sharks Have Heart award.