The National Rugby League (NRL) has today announced the finalists for this year's Veronica White Medal - Woman of the Year, which recognises the efforts of an NRLW player who has not only achieved on the field, but has committed time off the field to community projects.
The finalists for this year's award – Sophie Holyman, Bobbi Law, Tahlulah Tillett and Botille Vette-Welsh – have been selected for going above and beyond in their involvement in charity work, youth development or community support.
The Veronica White Medal - Woman of the Year finalists have been selected from the annual NRL Community Team of the Year, recognising each nominee as part of an elite cohort for their contribution off the field to community service.
The Veronica White Medal - Woman of the Year will be announced in Grand Final Week alongside the Ken Stephen Medal - Man of the Year.
“A recognition which continues to grow year on year, the Veronica White Medal– Woman of the Year award recognises the incredible contributions that so many female rugby league players are making to their local communities," said Andrew Every, NRL Executive General Manager Participation and Community.
"We thank Westpac for their continued support connecting our elite female athletes and the community.”
Established in 2007, the NRL Community Awards have become the most significant opportunity for our game’s unsung heroes to receive the recognition and thanks they deserve for the tireless work they do in the community. It also provides an opportunity for the NRL to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution that clubs, state leagues and both NRL and NRLW players make year on year.
Sophie Holyman – Canberra Raiders
As a proud new Canberra Raiders addition in 2023, Sophie has already soared in her achievements on and off the field. She has a true passion to serve the local community and showcase rugby league for girls and boys. Sophie has volunteered her time at numerous school rugby league competitions – talking to the students, promoting rugby rugby and distributing supplies and promotional items.
Over 200 students were lucky to have Sophie run masterclass skills sessions for the Raiders School Holiday Clinics in 2023. Inspiring and encouraging many 5-12-year-old fans is a powerful way to encourage students to be part of the greatest game of all. Keen to make a long-lasting impact on youth, Sophie has committed her time with regular sessions with the U/13 girls at Belconnen United Sharks.
Sophie has shown a deep desire to be involved in the Raiders inclusion program- Score Raiders, a program for people with a disability who want to play rugby league. Sophie attends the weekly sessions, hands out gifts and encourages her teammates to attend. Sophie is always willing to donate her time to fans and members of the club. This is evident in signing sessions where Sophie willingly stays behind after a session has ended, to ensure all fans get the opportunity to get signatures from her.
Tahlulah Tillett – North Queensland Cowboys
Torres Strait Islander NRLW Indigenous All Stars star, Tahlulah Tillett, proudly wears the Cowboys jersey as part of the inaugural NRLW team in 2023.
Although employed as a community ambassador, Tahlulah generously donates her time for a multitude of community engagements across Queensland in addition to this role. From supporting her Junior Club, Cairns Kangaroos, to welcoming Torres Strait Island junior rugby league teams and being part of junior clinics throughout Queensland, Tahlulah encourages junior development at grassroots level.
Overcoming personal adversity with four consecutive knee injuries has motivated Tahlulah to use her story to inspire youth, especially females, to be brave, resilient and to persevere through challenges to achieve your dreams.
Bobbi Law – St George Illawarra Dragons
This Indigenous All Star and the Prime Minister’s XIII player is a proud Worimi woman who is pro-active with the Aboriginal Elders in the local Aboriginal community. Bobbi recognises that being an Aboriginal and female role model can influence and inspire young girls and the Aboriginal community, a responsibility Bobbi takes seriously. Eager to make a genuine difference, Bobbi is committed to numerous Aboriginal organisations and programs, such as the Gordon Driver Licensing Program – helping Aboriginal people attain their driving license – NSW Aboriginal Safe Gambling Services, and Sista Girls – assisting Aboriginal women who are in, or leaving, the criminal justice system.
Bobbi began her rugby league journey as an adult; therefore, Bobbi is passionately involved in grassroots programs to introduce young girls to rugby league. She gives her time to many special, local community events such as junior club visits, the Reconciliation Day High School League Tag tournament, White Ribbon Day Cup, NAIDOC celebrations, Girls Only Clinics and school assemblies.
Botille Vette-Welsh – Wests Tigers
Botille is the captain of Wests Tigers NRLW and Harvey Norman Woman’s team, and her leadership also extends off field. She has supported the Wests Tigers community programs since 2019, leading other players by example. After Botille’s season ending injury in 2022 ensured she could not play on the field, she shifted her mindset, focusing on the work she could do in the community through rugby league.
Helping youth at grassroots clubs and schools is Botille’s passion. She has led the NRLW team in community engagement hours, visiting local junior clubs and schools to promote the game and instil a confidence in school age children to follow their dreams. Botille has had a key role in the Wests Tigers Hospital Toy drive, half-time Heroes Program, School Blitz’s, Wests Tigers Teach, NRL League Stars Programs, Tigers holiday programs and Wheelchair Rugby League jersey presentation day.
Botille inspires youth beyond her local community, visiting regional areas through the Roads to Region’s campaign, Wests Tigers Picton Community Day and visiting Queensland schools during the NRL’s Magic Round. As well as donating her time, Botille has also raised money for charities such as Muscular Dystrophy NSW.