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Former Kiwi Jerome Ropati and multiple international Georgia Hale have today been named to represent the Vodafone Warriors as NRL community ambassadors in 2016.

Ropati filled the position last year and has now been joined by the highly-accomplished Hale, who has represented New Zealand in rugby league, touch and tag.

The Vodafone Warriors’ duo were among a record 40 current and former rugby league stars gathered in Sydney today after accepting roles as NRL community ambassadors in 2016.

After ending his career early in the 2014 season, Ropati moved into his community job with the Vodafone Warriors.

Hale has recently been working with special needs children in the Long Bay area in Auckland.

A Kiwi Fern at Test level and at the 2015 NRL Auckland Nines, she has also played at international level for the New Zealand women’s touch and tag teams.

Other ambassadors confirmed today include Darren Lockyer, Alex McKinnon, Stephanie Hancock, Petero Civoniceva, Tallisha Harden and Justin Hodges.

In 2015, NRL community ambassadors reached more than 130,000 school students across 400 regions.

Additionally, ambassadors spent more than 2000 hours working in communities right across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.

NRL chief operating officer Suzanne Young said the NRL’s community programmes were integral to the game and ultimate future success.

“Rugby league is much more than just a game,” she said.

“We have a big voice and a big responsibility within our communities, to live up to our mission to bring people together and enrich their lives.”

The NRL undertakes numerous community programmes throughout the year, aligned to key pillars: Health; Respect; and Learn.

Programmes are supported by expert partners, who enable and guide decisions aimed at providing positive experiences and outcomes.

The NRL also released its first social impact report, conducted from select 2015 community programmes.

The report measures work undertaken in the community to effectively articulate the social, economic and environmental value that the game’s community programmes contribute.

A copy of the report and further information on NRL community programmes reviewed can be found online at


2016 NRL community ambassadors

Adam MacDougall

Alan Tongue

Alex McKinnon

Anthony Minichiello

Ben Ross

Ben Smith

Brent Tate

Brett Kimmorley

Bronson Harrison

Dallas Johnson

Dan Hunt

Danny Buderus

Darren Lockyer

David Simmons

David Peachey

George Rose

Georgia Hale

Jason King

Jerome Ropati

Joe Galuvao

John Skandalis

Josh Perry

Justin Hodges

Luke Bailey

Mario Fenech

Matt Cooper

Matt King

Matt Bowen

Nathan Hindmarsh

Nathan Merritt

Petero Civoniceva

Renae Kunst

Roy Asotasi

Ruan Sims

Samantha Hammond

Shaun Timmins

Stephanie Hancock

Tallisha Harden

Tom Learoyd-Lahrs

Wendell Sailor


NRL community information:


  • 40 past and present rugby league players have accepted positions as NRL Community Ambassadors in 2016 – a record number of ambassadors
  • Six female ambassadors are part of the overall number
  • Former players, now ambassadors, a majority of NRL clubs
  • Representation across Australia, New Zealand, Indigenous and the Pacifc
  • Ambassadors are based across a variety of locations, with a key focus on delivering community programmes to regional and rural areas in Australia and abroad
  • Ambassadors went through an interview and panel process before being appointed


2015 Community Statistics

  • Ambassadors and players spent more than 35,000 hours outside of football commitments working amongst local communities
  • 255,392 school children were engaged during Community Carnival (February) on the values of wellbeing and living active and healthy lifestyles
  • 41 cultural groups were engaged in various community programmes
  • 3500 school children in Papua New Guinea were provided with community education resources
  • 350 face to face hours were delivered for the NRL In League In Harmony programme (building cohesive communities through values and respectful behaviours)
  • 98% transition rate of students into employment and further education via the NRL School 2 Work program for Indigenous students
  • 3.4 million people directly reached through the NRL State of Mind programme, helping break down mental health stigma
  • Ambassadors visited more than 130,000 children (outside of Community Carnival in February) across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, delivering community programmes


NRL community pillars and key programmes

  • NRL Health: State of Mind, NRL Wellbeing, Community Carnival
  • NRL Respect: Voice Against Violence, Tackle Bullying, Women In League Round, Indigenous Engagement Strategy, In League In Harmony
  • NRL Learn: Dream Believe Achieve, Rugby League Reads, School 2 Work, NRL Learning Centre
Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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