Panthers forward Frank Winterstein has been recognised for his outstanding commitment to local community initiatives by being nominated for the 2019 Ken Stephen Medal.
The 2019 Ken Stephen Medallist will be announced during Grand Final week, with voting now open on NRL.com providing fans the opportunity to select the nominee they feel deserves to be a finalist.
Passionate about making an impact in the community, Winterstein is an official ambassador with the NRL State of Mind initiative and Voice Against Violence program.
He works closely with Panthers Indigenous Welfare Officer Glen Liddiard to support various Juvenile Justice System programs and makes regular visits to Cobham Juvenile Justice Centre, Long Bay Correctional Centre and Silverwater Correctional Centre.
Since arriving at Panthers early this year, he has become a familiar face in the Panthers on the Prowl classroom and volunteered his services as a mentor in the highly-regarded Building Young Men program.
"I've been very blessed to do what I do for work for a long time," Winterstein said.
"I believe it's the right thing to do - to give back to individuals or groups less fortunate, experiencing hardships or facing the battles life can throw their way."
The player with the highest number of public votes will be included as one of four finalists announced next month. Three other player finalists will be voted via a panel of judges from across the game’s administration.
This is the 31st year of the Ken Stephen Medal, with the award recognising the efforts of an NRL player who has not only achieved on the field, but has committed time off the field to supporting community projects.
2019 will also see the introduction of a reciprocal medal for a female NRL player – the Veronica White Medal – with nominees also announced next month.
NRL Head of Government and Community Relations, Jaymes Boland-Rudder said this year’s Ken Stephen Medal nominees showcased a glimpse of a majority of NRL players that privately support community and charitable initiatives throughout the year.
“Each of the nominees have had wonderful seasons to date and are to be congratulated for focusing their efforts off the field in a range of positive ways, ultimately benefiting their local communities,” Mr Boland-Rudder said.
“Regardless of the final award, I thank these nominees – and many more – for their support of the NRL, club and personal community programs throughout the year.”
Fan voting is open on the NRL’s community page on NRL.com through to 9am on Monday 19 August.