Warriors and Kiwi Ferns champion Honey Hireme has tonight been awarded the inaugural Veronica White Medal for her outstanding contribution to the community through rugby league.
And Canberra Raiders grand finalist and former Kiwi international Iosia Soliola has won the men's equivalent, the Ken Stephen Medal.
Both medals were awarded as part of the NRL grand final celebrations in front of a packed ANZ Stadium.
Both players demonstrated significant community engagement throughout the course of this year and were selected by a panel of judges from across the game.
NRL head of government and community relations Jaymes Boland-Rudder congratulated Hireme and Soliola on their outstanding off-field achievements and paid tribute to all of the female and male nominees (Vodafone Warriors prop Agnatius Paasi was one of the four men's finalists).
“These are two prestigious awards and it’s fitting that Honey and Sia are being celebrated on the biggest stage and at the biggest occasion in the rugby league calendar,” said Boland-Rudder.
“Both players – and all of our nominees – undertake an enormous amount of work off the field each year, much of it unknown and behind-the-scenes, simply because they wish to make a positive and genuine impact among communities.
“In the case of Honey, she has been an undisputed leader within her local rugby league community for a long time, encouraging young girls to play the game of rugby league and support one another in their everyday lives.
“For Sia, he’s been a pillar of strength for the Raiders this year and even more so in helping those in need, from young children to those facing homelessness and at a disadvantage in life.
“I’d also like to pay tribute to the enormous generosity that thousands of players, coaches, referees, fans and volunteers in our game deliver to unite, excite and inspire communities on a daily basis.”
This is the first year the NRL has awarded the Veronica White Medal and the 31st year of the Ken Stephen Medal.
To read more about both medals, along with the work that Hireme and Soliola have undertaken this year, click here.
For vision of Hireme and her Veronica White Medal story, click here.
For vision of Soliola and his Ken Stephen Medal story, click here.