2018 Community Service Award finalists announced

By Pete Fairbairn, 06.12.18

We're pleased to announce the five finalists to win the 2018 Community Service Award, with the winner to be announced at the Volvo-RUPA Awards Luncheon next Wednesday, December 12.

Allan Alaalatoa (Brumbies), Richard Hardwick (Melbourne Rebels), Jed Holloway (NSW Waratahs), Lachlan McCaffrey (Brumbies) and Andrew Muirhead (Brumbies) have been shortlisted for the Award, which is presented annually to the player who has made extraordinary service to the community through charity events, appearances and promotion of a community or not-for-profit cause or initiative.

Finalists for the Community Service award are put forward by the RUPA Player Development Managers, and the winner is decided by RUPA Chairman Bruce Hodgkinson AM SC.

The Community Service award was first presented in 2011. It’s’ previous winners are Robbie Abel & Matt Sandell (2017), Eddie Aholelei (2012), Matt Hodgson (2016), Pat Leafa (2013), Patrick McCutcheon & Henry Speight (2014), David Pocock (2011) and Paddy Ryan (2015).

Allan Alaalatoa

Brumbies and Wallabies front rower Alaalatoa spends a great deal of his time away from Rugby championing for the prevention of violence against women and their children, and it is his work for this cause that highlights his drive and willingness to make a difference in the lives of people in need.

Allan’s appointment as Ambassador for ‘The Line’, in association with ‘Our Watch’, at the end of 2017 instigated his want to provide his local community with several initiatives to help with the prevention of this problem. Being an ambassador for this cause has allowed Allan to speak out about the issue, being interviewed numerous times for both The Roar and The Daily Telegraph. It is through speaking out about domestic violence that Allan has been able to contribute a wealth of knowledge in advocating change within his local community.

Alan's drive to help those who can’t help themselves, and his willingness to step outside the ‘bro-code’ to speak up about something that he is passionate in, that have led to his nomination for the RUPA Community Service Award.

Richard Hardwick

Described as a highly-proactive, friendly and enthusiastic man, Richard's contribution to the community has been made apparent through the wide range of activities and events that he has donated his time towards.

'Dicky's' support of the Women’s Rugby community saw him volunteer to assist the forwards at the Melbourne Rebels Super W team, and coaching within the Harlequins Rugby Club women’s squad. Richard has dedicated a portion of his free time towards bettering the quality of Women’s rugby in the country.

He has also made sixteen separate player promotional appearances (two interstate) in 2018. A highlight was his work within the Melbourne community and the time spent at the Royal Children’s Hospital, where he befriended patient, Callum McLaughlan, who sadly passed away four months after their first encounter.

It is these commitments towards both the rugby and wider community that have led to Richards nomination for the RUPA Community Service Award.

Jed Holloway

Jed thrives on community engagement and uses it as a platform to better himself and the people around him, and in his spare time you can often find him making appearances at local Rugby Clubs or visiting patients in hospitals.

Chosen to be an Ambassador for the Starlight Children’s Foundation in 2016, and after many years of ‘under the radar’ work, Jed’s involvement with this charity has not gone unnoticed. The dedication he has shown this charity and his drive to help those in need are a true testament towards the characteristics and values of what both a valued member of the community should possess, and moreover, what a role model should represent in the modern era of professional sport.

Jed is a tremendously generous person who has donated a huge amount of time towards the cause he loves, helping people who require assistance, and it for these reasons that he has been nominated for the RUPA Community Service Award.

Lachlan McCaffrey

Brumbies backrower Lachlan McCaffrey lives with the belief that life is at its'most meaningful when you are helping others. It is this belief that has defined the characteristics and values which he holds dearest, and his tireless work and involvement with charities ‘Youth in Union’ and ‘The Fly Program’ have ultimately allowed him to show his altruistic colours.

Lachlan’s role as Ambassador for the ‘Youth in Union’ program has enabled him to be a driving force in providing disadvantaged boys and girls in Tonga with positive avenues to better themselves via playing sport and staying healthy. Lachlan even self-funded a trip to Tonga in order to run coaching clinics, distribute much needed equipment, and provide support for the community during his bye week of the Brumbies program.        

It is through his involvement with these two charities, and his mentality of placing others first, that he was chosen as the winner of the 2018 Brumbies’ Community Service Award, and that he's also nominated for the RUPA Community Service Award.  

Andrew Muirhead

Andrew’s off-field work showcases a young man determined to put others first. Through dedicating his spare time to those in need, Andrew epitomises how professional Rugby players can give back to the community in multiple ways.

Recently, Andrew has begun mentoring two 12-year-old children in order to help get through what can only be described as difficult times in their lives. In trying to better these children’s lives, Andrew has also attempted to better himself, through ascertaining a Cert IV in Youth Work to better understand the requirements needed to help these and potentially other children in need. 

He has also become a champion for the Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS) in Canberra, and as a result helps this cause through attending the Young Peoples Outreach Program, and helping with activities for ‘Room4Change’, dedicated for men who want to stop using violence in their relationships. Andrew's commitment to community work sees him deservedly nominated for this Award.

The RUPA Community Service award is one of eight major awards presented at the Volvo-RUPA Awards Luncheon on Wednesday December 12. To view finalists in other categories, please click on the following links:

- RUPA Medal For Excellence

- RUPA Newcomer of the Year

- Taylors Wines People's Choice Australian Player of the Year

- NRC Players' Player

- Australian Men's Rugby Sevens Players' Player

- Australian Women's Rugby Sevens Players' Player

- Academic Achievement Award

Pete Fairbairn
Communications Manager
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