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Ken Stephen Medal: Last chance to vote for Hynes!

In recognition of his outstanding off-field work, particularly in the mental health and Indigenous spaces, selfless Sharks halfback Nicho Hynes has been nominated for the 2024 Ken Stephen Medal.

Voting closes tomorrow, July 1 – so get behind Nicho ASAP!

Awarded by the NRL each season, the Ken Stephen Medal – Man of the Year, presented by Westpac, acknowledges the positive contributions players make not only on the paddock but in their local communities.

The 2024 nominees, one from each team, make up the NRL Community Team of the Year, earning $1000 for their chosen junior club. The Umina Bunnies are the beneficiary of Hynes' selection.

The fans have the power to select one nominee as an automatic top-four finalist for the prestigious award, with the winner of the public vote to receive a further $2500 to give back to their junior club and a charity of their choice.

Hynes' charity is the Gotcha4Life Foundation.

"I'm honoured to be nominated for the Ken Stephen Medal," Hynes said.

"As rugby league players, we're fortunate enough to have a platform that allows us to make a difference. I believe it's important to speak up and share our experiences because you never know who you might impact.

"Engaging with the community is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. It’s a privilege that I don't take for granted.

"Congratulations to all the other nominees. It’s fantastic to see so many players doing wonderful things."

Community work is a longstanding passion for Hynes, who was a finalist for the 2022 Ken Stephen Medal in his first year at the Sharks.

A vocal mental health advocate willing to be vulnerable in a bid to assist others, Hynes was the driving force behind the Sharks' inaugural Mental Fitness Round against the Dragons in Round 9 this season.

Hynes linked with Gotcha4Life Foundation founder Gus Worland and some of his clubmates to publicise the initiative, spreading powerful messages about the benefits of training mental resilience, supporting loved ones and breaking stigmas.

Mental Fitness Round: Breaking the stigma with Nicho and Gus

The proud Wiradjuri and Darkinjung man also uses his platform to speak on Indigenous issues and equality, often opening up about his journey to help others embrace their heritage.

Hynes has delivered crucial health and education messages to students through Deadly Choices and other Sharks Have Heart programs, as well as happily visiting hospitals, schools and junior clubs to promote the game and lift spirits.

While the magnitude of his profile means he is routinely swarmed by supporters keen to grab a photo or have a chat, the 28-year-old is always gracious with his time and goes above and beyond for the fans with small acts of kindness.

Even in his off-season break, Hynes voluntarily took part in various Sharks disability rugby league clinics, undoubtedly making the day of the excited participants.

Show your support for Nicho by casting a vote today - click the link below!

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Support Nicho in the Ken Stephen Medal poll

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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