Georgia Hale’s exceptional qualities on and off the rugby league field have tonight seen her honoured as the 2020 Young New Zealander of the Year.

On a momentous night for the Vodafone Warriors and rugby league, Hale (24) combined her sporting prowess with her selfless contribution in the community to head off fellow young achievers Tabby Besley and Fraser McConnell for the award.

Hale, who works for the Vodafone Warriors as their community relations coordinator, rose to become Warriors WNRL captain last year and also helped the Kiwi Ferns to win the inaugural World Cup 9s tournament in Sydney.

“This is a phenomenal achievement,” said Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George.

“We couldn’t be prouder of Georgia. She brings enormous credit on herself in the most selfless manner and richly deserves this recognition as an exceptional young New Zealander.

“It’s also a tremendous night for the game and for rugby league as a code to be able to celebrate this recognition.”

The citation for Hale on the KiwiBank New Zealander of the Year Awards Facebook page says:

“Georgia Hale is a champion sportsperson who has represented New Zealand in four separate sports. She has used her sporting profile as a platform to a create huge community impact around New Zealand.

“Georgia is one of the youngest-ever captains in New Zealand sport, captaining the Women’s Warriors Rugby League team when she was only 24. She has represented New Zealand in touch, tag, league nines and league thirteens.

“Georgia has dedicated herself to supporting communities. She influences thousands of children by visiting schools around the country and teaching students how to live a healthy lifestyle. She has set up a number of community initiatives with the Warriors, including the Great Charity Day which raised more than $120,000 in its first two years. She has also set up a number of initiatives through her platform to help young children, rural communities, the intellectually disabled, and a wide range of other charities.

“A role model to many, Georgia epitomises a Young New Zealander who is striving to better herself and the communities around her.”

A Kiwi Fern since 2015, Hale was appointed Warriors captain last August. In choosing her, Warriors WNRL coach Luisa Avaiki said she epitomises what a leader should be.

“Georgia stands out with the way she holds herself, with her values, her strengths and the passion she has for every team she plays for,” said Avaiki.

“I’ve watched her and she has really good relationships with everyone around her and she’s respectful. Her work ethic, competitiveness and drive are important qualities she demonstrates on and off the field.”

A demonstration of Hale’s all-round abilities could be found in the past three weeks.

For a week she was on the road with the Vodafone Warriors and the New Zealand Rugby League with the Sky Sport Rugby League Roadshow, taking the game to Gisborne, Ohope, Mount Maunganui and Whitianga before flying to Perth to lead the Warriors at the NRL Nines last weekend.

After attending tonight’s awards dinner in Auckland, she will be on an early morning flight to Palmerston North to playing a leading hand the Vodafone Warriors’ community programme ahead of the club’s NRL trial against the Melbourne Storm at Central Energy Trust Arena on Saturday.

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