RUPA are pleased to announce the finalists for the 2016 Community Service Award, with the winner to be announced at the Volvo-RUPA Awards Lunch on Wednesday December 7th.
The Community Service Award is presented to the player who has made extraordinary service to the community through charity events, appearances and promotion of a community or not-for-profit cause or initiative.
Finalists are put forward by the RUPA Player Development Managers, and the winner is decided by RUPA Chairman Bruce Hodgkinson SC and RUPA President Benn Robinson.
The Award was first presented in 2011, when it was won by David Pocock, with other winners including Eddie Aholelei (2012), Pat Leafa (2013), Pat McCutcheon & Henry Speight (2014) and Paddy Ryan (2015).
2016 RUPA Community Service Award finalists:
ACT Brumbies hooker Robbie Able conducts weekly charity and community voluntary work all year long, doubling his commitment to four hours every week during the off-season. Robbie’s voluntary commitments including one on one and group indigenous and pasifika mentorship, coaching clinics, promoting health programs, community fitness programs and more. Abel, who won the Brumbies Community Award this year, was the keynote presenter at Canberra High School’s NAIDOC Assembly and received glowing reviews from school staff for his ability to captivate the entire student body.
ACT Brumbies back Nigel Ah-Wong became an Ambassador for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Australia in 2016. His Aunty had been a sufferer suffered of MND for three years and inspired Nigel to become heavily involved; sadly, she passed late this year. Whilst not known for his public speaking, Nigel felt strongly enough about the cause to present to the Board of Directors of MND Australia, and promoted awareness and fundraising initiatives for the charity through Club-supported press activity, social media and donating Brumbies apparel and his personal ticket allocation to those affected by the disease.
Western Force star Matt Hodgson, a RUPA Player Director, made a significant contribution and commitment to charity LIVIN WA in 2016, raising awareness for mental health and imploring people who are struggling to speak out and ask for help. An Ambassador and State Committee member for the charity, Hodgson has gone above and beyond by touring remote mining sites to spread the LIVIN mantra, as well as also dedicating time to other causes including the Rise UP Charity Dinner.
NSW Waratahs backrower Jed Holloway thrives on being a public figure and using that platform to give back and help others within the community, and in 2016 he completed a team-high 56 hours of team appearances and community work, 22 hours more than the next ranked player. Jed is a proud Ambassador for Starlight Children’s Foundation, who he has been working with in his own time for many years, and after sustaining a serious injury he proactively embraced community opportunities including regional promotional tours, school visits and Junior Rugby events.
A former winner of this Award in 2014 when playing for the NSW Waratahs, Patrick McCutcheon’s nomination recognises the hard work he has put in aligning the Raise Foundation, for whom he’s a long-standing Ambassador, with the Sevens program. Pat has continued to be a mentor within the program and has helped facilitate a number of his teammates doing likewise, as well as heavily involving himself with the organisation of the inaugural Raise Foundation Australian Rugby Sevens Golf Day. He also made 20 appearances throughout the year including numerous school and Club visits.
The Community Service Award is one of eight major Awards presented at the Volvo-RUPA Awards Lunch, including the RUPA Medal for Excellence, Taylors Wines People’s Choice Wallaby of the Year and the Academic Achievement Award.
Stay tuned for announcements regarding the finalists in other Award categories over the coming days and weeks.