The medal is awarded annually to an NRL player for his outstanding contribution in the community.
After stints with Canterbury Bankstown, Wests Tigers and Brisbane, the 26-year-old ex-Kelston Boys’ High School student returned home in his quest to revive his career.
The former Vodafone Junior Warrior (2009) and NRL squad member (2011-2012) made a huge impression in the offseason to earn a contract, playing the first of his eight NRL games for the club so far in the opening round of the season against the Tigers.
Off the field Gavet immediately struck a chord with the wider community when he spoke about his goal to use the adversity he has endured in his life to help those in need.
To that end the big front rower and members of his family have been handing out food parcels around his local area.
These random acts of kindness captured hearts and minds when Gavet published video on his Instagram account @james_gavet
Gavet’s work has resulted in the Vodafone Warriors putting his name forward for the Ken Stephen Medal along with nominees from 14 of the NRL’s other 15 clubs. Ruben Wiki (2007) has been the club’s only award winner so far.
Among the other nominees are Paul Gallen (Cronulla), Darius Boyd (Brisbane), Trent Merrin (Penrith) and Moses Mbye (Canterbury Bankstown).
Voting has opened to select the 2016 Ken Stephen Medal winner with fans encouraged to select the player they believe best reflects leadership qualities befitting of the medal.
The medal will be awarded during the 2016 Dally M Awards recognising the efforts of a player not only achieved success and leadership on-field, but contributed to community projects off-field to make a positive difference and change.
NRL general manager of community Ellen Beale said the nominated players had all demonstrated exceptional community service throughout the season, quite often away from the media and public.
“Rugby league is fortunate to have strong community values and players across all levels of the game who support one another and their local communities,” said Beale.
“Our NRL players are to be commended for their support and commitment to helping others less fortunate and the nominees for this year’s Ken Stephen Medal are among some of the best in our game when it comes to service and sacrifice off the field.”
2016 KEN STEPHEN MEDAL NOMINEES
Darius Boyd | Brisbane Broncos
Sia Soliola | Canberra Raiders
Moses Mbye | Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Paul Gallen | Cronulla Sharks
William Zillman | Gold Coast Titans
Brenton Lawrence | Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Nelson Asofa Solomona | Melbourne Storm
Trent Hodkinson | Newcastle Knights
John Asiata | North Queensland Cowboys
Tim Mannah | Parramatta Eels
Trent Merrin | Penrith Panthers
Joel Thompson| St George Illawarra Dragons
Kane Evans | Sydney Roosters
James Gavet | Vodafone Warriors
Dene Halatau | Wests Tigers
All nominees will be officially congratulated and recognised at the 2016 NRL Community Awards with the nominees forming the inaugural NRL Community Team of the Year.
To find out more on all Ken Stephen nominees and to vote, head to: NRL.Com/KenStephenMedal