Gold Coast ruckman Zac Smith was awarded the Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award at the Brownlow Medal ceremony on Monday night in Melbourne.
The annual award commemorates Jim Stynes’ tireless service and leadership across the community and is bestowed annually to the AFL player who demonstrates the values of Jim Stynes in his commitment to helping others.
The award was established by the AFL and the Reach Foundation and presented for the first time in 2012 to AFL Players’ board member Dan Jackson.
— GC SUNS (@GoldCoastSUNS) September 23, 2013
Smith was recognised for his work against domestic violence as the Suns’ Domestic Violence Ambassador, his involvement with the One Punch Can Kill anti-violence program and as an ambassador for the White Ribbon Foundation.
The 23-year-old is also involved with assisting Indigenous communities through the No Boundaries partnership program and families in need through the White Christmas charity event.
Smith claimed the honour ahead of fellow finalists Nick Maxwell and All-Australian ruckman Will Minson.
Smith was presented with the award by Sam Ludbey and will receive $20,000 towards a charity or community of his choice.
Upon accepting the award, a clearly humbled Smith paid tribute to the other finalists and expressed his pride in winning an award celebrating Stynes’ legacy.
— The Reach Foundation (@wearereach) September 23, 2013
CEO of the Reach Foundation Sarah Davies said Smith demonstrated a genuine desire to ensure his work in the community had a positive and lasting impact.
“It’s fantastic to see players like Zac, who many young people look up to, contributing in such a positive way to our community.”
AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou paid tribute to Smith’s “relentless work within the community” and “sacrifice of his spare time”.
Smith joined the Suns as a foundation member, bursting onto the AFL scene in the Gold Coast’s inaugural season impressing with his athleticism and dexterity.
In 2011 the 205cm Queenslander was awarded a Rising Star nomination and represented his country in the International Rules Series.
His 2013 season was ended prematurely in Round 8 when he ruptured the ACL in his knee.
Smith has played 44 AFL games in three seasons.
— 3AW Melbourne (@3AW693) September 24, 2013