25 June 2024

As seen on nrl.com

The NRL has today announced the nominees for this year’s Ken Stephen Medal – Man of the Year, which recognises the efforts of an NRL player who has not only achieved on the field, but has committed time off the field to community projects.

The nominees for the Ken Stephen Medal form the annual NRL Community Team of the Year with players nominated by their NRL clubs for going above and beyond in their charity work, youth development or community support.

Established in 2007, the NRL Community Awards have become the most significant opportunity for our game’s unsung heroes to receive the recognition and thanks they deserve for the tireless work they do in the community. It also provides an opportunity for the NRL to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution that clubs, state leagues and both NRL and NRLW players make year on year.

This year will be the 36th instance that the Ken Stephen Medal will be awarded, with a host of worthy recipients receiving this prestigious award since Wayne Pearce won the most prestigious community award in 1988. The last Kiwi to have won the Medal was Ruben Wiki in 2007 with the Warriors’ Tohu Harris being the only Kiwi nominated this year.

Tohu’s commitment to community service across Aotearoa is exemplary, balancing his demanding schedule with the Warriors. He actively engages in school visits, community events, and recently leading the Warriors’ playing group in welcoming youth ambassadors – ensuring impactful experiences for each student.

The Warriors are wholeheartedly behind Tohu’s initiatives, recognising his positive impact on community, player development, and team morale.

His involvement in community inspires his fellow players, fostering a culture of community engagement within the team. Tohu collaborates closely with the community team to prioritise meaningful engagement with activities ranging from supporting youth and inspiring school children to promoting rugby league initiatives.

His seamless integration of charity work into club commitments sets a high standard of sportsmanship and service, motivating his peers to participate. Tohu’s efforts have significantly boosted community activation participation and raised substantial funds for charity.

He actively supports hospital visits, literacy programs, and various community projects, demonstrating a steadfast commitment to youth development and community well-being.

Through initiatives like the League in Libraries creative writing competition and his mentoring roles, Tohu continues to cultivate a culture of giving back, leaving a lasting impact on communities and inspiring positive change.

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