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Hammer's mission to motivate next generation

In 2021, the students of NRL Cowboys House gained their very own rugby league role model with the appointment of North Queensland Toyota Cowboys fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow as their 2021 player ambassador.

Just one year later, ‘Hammer' has emerged as an Indigenous leader for students across North Queensland, as he uses his own experience as a boarding student to encourage and motivate young people to gain an education and pursue their dreams.

This important and significant community work is now being recognised, with Hamiso named as the club's 2022 Ken Stephen Medal nominee, the National Rugby League's highest community honour.

Public voting is now open for the prestigious community award, with members and fans having until August 30 to cast their vote for the 20-year-old winger and Cairns Kangaroos junior.


Balancing studying for a Certificate IV in Youth Services with his training and playing responsibilities, ‘Hammer’ supplements his study by working with school-aged students through club-led initiatives and a motivation to support Indigenous boarding students at NRL Cowboys House.

Hamiso’s work as NRL Cowboys House ambassador inspires and encourages over 100 Indigenous students from 23 remote communities to complete their secondary schooling, and to also pursue their dreams while holding culture close.

With students on a similar path to that trodden by the squad’s fastest Cowboy, Hamiso said he hopes to support students as they face new and unique challenges, but also celebrate with them for special occasions like graduations and award ceremonies.

“I have been through it, being young, Indigenous and away from home, but you do make lifelong friends when you go to boarding school,” he said.

“It inspires me seeing them step out of their comfort zone to come here to do well in sport and in education, it does inspire me to be better and to help them out wherever I can.

“Just getting out to the communities and giving back is pretty cool, I still pinch myself that I am a role model and seeing kids look up to you is pretty cool.”

It’s not only House students looking up to Hammer – he’s also a familiar face at Weir State School, as part of the club’s flagship Adopt-a-School program, supported by Bravus.

His motivation to work closely with First Nations people has seen him take part in the school's Weir Strong program, encouraging students from a range of year levels to stay connected to culture and aspire to greatness - in many instances, using rugby league as a driver.

Weir State School principal Judd Burgess said their program gives students an opportunity to talk about feelings, emotions, how to work through particular challenges and retain a strong connection to each other and culture, with Hammer adding a new and exciting dimension.

"It's great to have Hamiso simply because at the end of the day, he brings his own personal stories to the (yarning) circle," he said.

"He's a football star through and through, but it also allows the kids to see him in a different light where he sits there, he's a man, he's an Elder in their eyes and he can sit and share some of his stories, feelings and thoughts around his life experience.

"It allows them to interact with a football superstar but on their level and in their programs, which is great."

Players are nominated for the Ken Stephen Medal by each of the 16 NRL clubs in recognition of their off-field community and charity work, while also considering each player’s on-field record.

The fan vote winner will earn $3,500 for their junior rugby league club and automatically become the fourth finalist.

The Ken Stephen Medallist will be announced at the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final and will win $3,500 for their charity of choice and $3,500 directly.

For more information about the Ken Stephen Medal and to vote, visit

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour 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.