Eels co-captain Junior Paulo has been nominated for the 2023 Ken Stephen Medal in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the community.
The Eels nominated Junior in light of his voluntary work with PCYC, anti-violence campaigns and the Pasifika community.
"A proud Samoan-Australian, Junior Paulo is an outstanding leader on the field but is also focused on being a strong community leader for the youth of Western Sydney," said the NRL in a statement.
The Cabramatta Two Blues Junior has forged a strong connection with the Police Citizens Youth Clubs (PCYC), with Junior volunteering to be their ambassador. This connection is more than a club commitment with Junior’s link to the PCYC starting in his youth. Now, as a strong role model, Junior can help youth of Western Sydney make positive choices by sharing his personal stories at the PCYC. Junior is also a spokesperson for an Anti-Violence Program in Western Sydney schools. He is a strong role model for youth in the area, building relationships with members of the community by participating in a weekly touch footy game for locals – Village Touch Games.
Junior, who has been given a prestigious Samoan Chief title, has become a cultural leader at the Parramatta Eels. Over half the Parramatta Eels playing group identify as Pasifika or Maori heritage and Junior has undertaken a leadership role at the club, consulting on all Pasifika or Maori decisions.
Fiercely proud of his heritage and his upbringing in Western Sydney, Junior is a passionate, hardworking leader who humbly gives his all to his beloved Parramatta Eels community."