Sandell up for community award 17/11/2017 By NSW Rugby Media New South Wales Rugby’s Matt Sandell is one of five finalists for his service to the community. And he’ll find out if he’s the winner at the annual VOLVO-Rugby Union Players’ Association Awards Luncheon in Sydney next month. The other nominees are Robbie Abel (Brumbies), Richard Hardwick (Western Force), Mahalia Murphy (Australian Women’s Rugby Sevens) and James Slipper (Reds) for the 2017 Community Service 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 are put forward by the RUPA Player Development Managers, and the winner is decided by RUPA Chairman Bruce Hodgkinson SC and RUPA President Dean Mumm. The Community Service award was first presented in 2011. It’s’ previous winners are Eddie Aholelei (2012), Matt Hodgson (2016), Pat Leafa (2013), Patrick McCutcheon & Henry Speight (2014), David Pocock (2011) and Paddy Ryan (2015). How Matty earned his nomination …… For a young man determined to make his Super Rugby debut, a second successive season-ending knee injury represents a most unfortunate and unwanted setback. This was the fate that befell young Waratahs front rower Matt Sandell in 2017, and while obviously disappointed to receive the prognosis the Mudgee product took it in his stride and resolved himself to instead contributing to the team and the Club by helping grow and promote Rugby and the Waratahs throughout the state. Matt attended 19 events on behalf of the Club and completed a staggering 59 hours’ worth of appearances for the Waratahs. On top of this, and as well as committing a vast amount of time and dedication to his own personal injury rehabilitation, Matt was also the Under 13’s skills coach at St Joseph’s College and made himself available to assist with his junior club in Mudgee whenever he returned home to see his family. Matt presented the RUPA Medal, on behalf of all of Australia’s professional players, to the Best on Ground in the Final of the 2017 Australian Schoolboys Championships, and also made himself available to undergo initial facilitator training as part of the partnership between Australian Rugby and Our Watch, an organisation that has been established to drive nation-wide change in the culture, behaviours and attitudes that underpin and create violence against women and children.