Voting is now open for the 2021 Ken Stephen Medal following the announcement of this year’s nominees, including Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs forward Raymond Faitala-Mariner.
The 28-year old joins 15 other NRL players (one from every club) nominated for the prestigious medal, which recognises the efforts of an NRL player who has not only achieved on the field, but has committed time off the field to community projects.
Faitala-Mariner is a proud Samoan and New Zealand international who has a passion for serving others in his community.
Raymond’s interest in striving to give back to his community is focused on those less fortunate. Raymond coordinated a team of players, coaching staff and club office staff to create Hampers for Hope.
This initiative provided boxes of groceries, bread, fruit and vegetables to households across Sydney. Raymond also organised and led a team of Bulldog representatives to provide food for those in need on Christmas Day.
His work in the community is shaped by his religious beliefs. As well as participating in club-based initiatives, Ray represented the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs at the Lakemba ANZAC Day Dawn Service, worked with St Mary’s Catholic Primary School to share messages of perseverance and attended St Rita Melkite Catholic Parish Annual Fundraising Dinner.
The back-rower stands out amongst others due to the unique way he unites players and staff to become involved with his community service, together. The leadership and positive inclusivity he has brought to his community work shaped a shared vision, unity and collaborative approach within the Bulldogs.
He joins the likes of Hazem El Masri, Andrew Ryan, Adam Elliott and Trent Hodkinson who have previously been nominated for the award with El Masri, Ryan and Hodkinson all being named Ken Stephen Medal winners.
This year will be the 33rd instance that the Ken Stephen Medal will be awarded and as usual, three finalists for the prestigious award will be chosen by an esteemed panel while fans will vote to determine the fourth.
And in a change from previous years, the player who takes out the fan vote will earn $3500 for their junior rugby league club.
The fan vote will close on August 8 before finalists are announced during the finals series.