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South Sydney Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker and Parramatta Eels forward Kennedy Cherrington have been crowned the game’s Man and Woman of the Year, taking out the 2022 Ken Stephen Medal and Veronica White Medal respectively.

The medals were presented at Accor Stadium this evening ahead of the NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final, by Wayne Pearce and Veronica White.

Walker was crowned the Ken Stephen Medallist ahead of finalists Angus Crichton (Sydney Roosters), Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (North Queensland Cowboys) and the 2022 Dally M Medal winner Nicho Hynes (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks).

The Ken Stephen Medal and Veronica White Medals recognise the efforts of players who have not only achieved on the field but have committed time off the field to community projects.

Walker has shown dedication to the Nanga Mai Marri (Dream Big) Program, Aboriginal Employment Program, Deadly Youth Mentoring Program and Rabbitohs Wellbeing Program. He is involved in numerous Indigenous-focused initiatives, such as raising money for the Rising Warriors Program, guest speaking at NAIDOC week school celebrations and collaborating with indigenous leaders from multiple codes and industries in the Unity Dance in 2021.

Cherrington was awarded the Veronica White Medal ahead of Millie Boyle (Newcastle Knights) and Steph Hancock (Gold Coast Titans).

Overcoming adversity as a child with a heart disease, Kennedy is committed to dedicating time to giving back to charities and organisations which helped her overcome heart disease, allowing her to play Rugby League. Kennedy supports several charities and special fundraiser events including Heart Kids Charity and the “2 Feet and a Heartbeat” walk.

“Cody and Kennedy are exceptional leaders that we are proud of,” NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said. “Talented individuals who have made a massive impact for causes they are passionate about. Cody is so well respected in the community. He gives his time generously to several programs aimed at mentoring young people.

“Kennedy’s story of strength facing adversity is an inspirational one. She has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and much needed funds for organisations aimed at helping people, especially children, who suffer from heart disease.”

An overview of the Ken Stephen Medal Finalists can be found here:

An overview of the Veronica White Medal Finalists can be found here:

An overview of the NRL Community Awards Grassroots winners and finalists can be found at:

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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