Gold Coast Titans player Ryan James has been announced as one of the finalists in the running to win the prestigious Ken Stephen Medal presented by Telstra for his outstanding work in the community.

As a proud member of Australia’s indigenous community, Ryan has taken it upon himself to be a role model for other young Indigenous people to pursue their dreams.

Ryan has managed to juggle the demands of a Bachelor of Business degree, his professional Rugby League commitments as well as being an active ambassador for Titans 4 Tomorrow. The program runs invaluable welfare initiatives with members of the local community.

Aside from his work with the community and the Titans 4 Tomorrow program, Ryan volunteered to shave off his trademark locks off for the Leukaemia Foundation’s World Greatest Shave initiative should the fans reach a donation target, which sadly, was not met. 

Through all of his community work Ryan has been inspired to follow in the footsteps of former teammate and role model, Preston Campbell.

“There is a lot of support out there for Indigenous people wanting to pursue tertiary education and I don’t think they realise this, we need to make the most of what is being offered to us,” says Ryan.

 “I knew where I was from and comfortable with my identity from an early age, but a lot of our people don’t.  It is so important that young Indigenous people take an interest in their culture and become very proud of where they are from.  It can make a big difference later in life.”

Vote for Ryan to win the Ken Stephen Medal at: nrl.com/kenstephenmedal.

Voting is live to the public from midday Monday, 1 September until midnight on Wednesday, 10 September. 

The Ken Stephen Medal is named after the NSWRL administrator who dedicated 28 years of service to the game.

Finalists for 2014 Ken Stephen Medal presented by Telstra are:

Brisbane Broncos - Josh McGuire
Canberra Raiders - Joel Edwards
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs - Trent Hodkinson
Cronulla Sharks - Michael Gordon
Gold Coast Titans - Ryan James
North Queensland Cowboys - Gavin Cooper
Manly - Brenton Lawrence
Melbourn Storm - Matt Duffie
Newcastle Knights - Robbie Rochow
New Zealand Warriors - Manu Vatuvei
Parramatta Eels - Ben Smith
Penrith Panthers - Nigel Plum
St George Illawarra Dragons - Ben Creagh
Sydney Roosters - Anthony Minichiello
West Tigers - Dene Halatau