Sydney Roosters centre Latrell Mitchell has been nominated for the 2017 Ken Stephen Medal.
In just his second season of first-grade football, Latrell Mitchell has already earned the respect of the Roosters playing squad and staff for his off-field contributions.
The humble 20-year old has grown enormously as an Indigenous leader this year and insists on being at the heart of everything the Roosters do to address social issues within their Indigenous communities.
Latrell is an ambassador for a variety of programs and organisations: the Roosters' NAIDOC Schools Program, Roosters Against Racism, and the club's community partner, AbSec (the Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat).
Latrell is committed to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. The free-running centre uses his profile to raise awareness of social issues, such as the increased risk of cardiovascular disease among Indigenous Australians. Having lost a younger cousin to an undiagnosed heart condition, Latrell wasted no time in fronting the St Vincent's Hospital Heart Health campaign and has been vital in communicating this message in the community.
Latrell has never forgotten the impact that meeting NRL players had on him as a youngster and often coordinates visits to his old junior rugby league club, Taree Red Rovers.
Latrell's dedication and maturity were recognised at the highest level when Brad Fittler invited the youngster to speak to 23 promising players at the NSW Rugby League's Northern Indigenous Camp.
The Ken Stephen Medal
Ken Stephen was an administrator who devoted 28 years to the NSWRL in various capacities. He retired shortly before his death in 1988. The Ken Stephen Medal recognises the efforts of an NRL player, who has not only achieved on the field, but has also committed time off the field to community projects.
A player is nominated by their NRL club for their involvement in charity work, youth development or community support. The nominated player will have consistently demonstrated their commitment to making a difference in their community and be seen as a role model in this area at their NRL club.
The NRL Community Awards recognise Rugby League's unsung heroes for the tireless work they do to support the game they love. From volunteers and teachers, to players at a first-grade level, the awards pause to honour, reflect and congratulate those who make a positive difference for many in their communities, week after week.
This article first appeared on NRL.COM