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Raiders prop Sia Soliola and Warriors NRLW star Honey Hireme have been awarded the Ken Stephen and Veronica White Medals for their inspiring off-field work.

Hireme was honoured after the NRLW Broncos-Dragons grand final, while Soliola had the award presented by inaugural Ken Stephen Medallist Wayne Pearce after a shattering 14-8 loss to the Roosters.

"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," NRL head of community relations Jaymes Boland-Rudder said.

"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 amongst 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 every-day 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.

Veronica White Medal winner Honey Hireme from the Warriors.
Veronica White Medal winner Honey Hireme from the Warriors. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

"This is the first year we've awarded the Veronica White Medal and the 31st year of the Ken Stephen Medal."

Canberra veteran Soliola dedicates much of his free time to various causes in the local community, including feeding the homeless at the Early Morning Centre soup kitchen every Monday for the past three years.

The 33-year-old is involved with several worthwhile initiatives and programs like the Vinnie's CEO Sleepout, Kulture Break, Menslink and Silence is Deadly.

He is also an ambassador for children with Angelman Syndrome and writes the name of a child with the disorder on his wrist tape in each match.

Even after the pain of a grand final defeat, Soliola was gracious and selfless.

"I want to thank the nominees for this award. This is for everyone, not just for me," he said. "This is for you Canberra, I love you."

Hireme has endured a tough year on the personal front but still managed to help others in a big way.

The Kiwi Ferns legend didn't feature in the NRLW this season as she cared for her mother, who sadly passed away from cancer last month.

A player-coach for the Hamilton Tigers, Hireme devotes herself to nurturing the next generation of women's rugby league players in her local area.

Additionally, the 38-year-old is employed as an advisor to the Halberg Foundation, helping physically disabled people to engage in and enjoy sport and recreation.

"I just want to thank Veronica [White] for all the years of work that she's done," Hireme said.

"This is a great acknowledgement for all the work that all of us will continue to do to support the game so young girls have a great pathway and continue to play the game."

 

The 2019 Ken Stephen Medal is proudly supported by wealth, property and well-being consultancy, One Solutions.