North Queensland Toyota Cowboys life member and games record-holder Matthew Bowen is one of three former NQ heroes to be named as 2016 National Rugby League community ambassadors.
Bowen, who played 270 games for the Cowboys over a stellar 13-season career, will be joined by former teammates Brent Tate (67 club games over four seasons) and Dallas Johnson (65 club games over three seasons) as NRL ambassadors.
Bowen this week returned to the Cowboys fold after two years playing for Leeds United in the English Super League, taking up the role of Community Engagement Officer.
A record 40 current and former rugby league stars have accepted positions to be part of NRL community programs in 2016, with 15 new additions to the team, including six female ambassadors.
In 2015, NRL community ambassadors reached more than 130,000 school students across 400 regions.
Additionally, ambassadors spent more than 2,000 hours working among communities right across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, helping to improve lives.
NRL Chief Operating Officer Suzanne Young said the NRL’s community programs were integral to the game and ultimate future success.
“Rugby league is much more than just a game. We have a big voice and a big responsibility within our communities, to live up to our mission to bring people together and enrich their lives,” Ms Young said.
“Whether our ambassadors are supporting townships to break down the stigma of mental health, mentoring young Indigenous students to make an easier transition from school to work, or standing up and speaking out about violence against women…we all have a responsibility to help build inclusiveness and positive social impact amongst communities.”
The NRL undertakes numerous community programs throughout the year, aligned to the key pillars of health, respect and learning.
Programs are supported by expert partners who enable and guide decisions aimed at providing positive experiences and outcomes.
The NRL has also released its first social impact report, conducted from select 2015 community programs, that measures the social, economic and environmental value that the game’s community programs contribute – view the report at NRL.com.
2016 NRL COMMUNITY AMBASSADORS: Adam MacDougall, Alan Tongue, Alex McKinnon, Anthony Minichiello, Ben Ross, Ben Smith, Brent Tate, Brett Kimmorley, Bronson Harrison, Dallas Johnson, Dan Hunt, Danny Buderus, Darren Lockyer, David Simmons, David Peachey, George Rose, Georgia Hale, Jason King, Jerome Ropati, Joe Galuvao, John Skandalis, Josh Perry, Justin Hodges, Luke Bailey, Mario Fenech, Matt Cooper, Matt King, Matt Bowen, Nathan Hindmarsh, Nathan Merritt, Petero Civoniceva, Renae Kunst, Roy Asotasi, Ruan Sims, Samantha Hammond, Shaun Timmins, Stephanie Hancock, Tallisha Harden, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Wendell Sailor.