The long simmering rivalry between Rugby League and Rugby Union has erupted into a social media war over nominations for Australia’s pre-eminent inter-code award, The Frownlow Medal.
Rugby Union fans have taken to twitter to protest the fact that no Union players have so far been nominated for the award, which was last year won by Sydney Roosters NRL player, Shaun Kenny-Dowall.
The Frownlow Medal is awarded to the player whose off field demeanour epitomises the values of the modern day footballer and draws attention to the status of footballers as role models to young Australians. It covers Australia’s four major football codes; the National Rugby League (NRL), Australian Football League (AFL), the A League (Football) and Rugby Union’s Super Rugby competition.
“Union players as good as Leaguies – even better” tweeted famous Rugby Union tragic @maulandall.
This drew the following response;
“go ruck yusself” from @gopenriff, to which @maulandall retaliated,
“Beale, O’Connor, Cipriani, Cooper. Where r nominations?” in reference to Kurtley Beale, James O’Connor, Danny Cipriani and Quade Cooper.
Beale achieved fame for his very public support of female body image. O’Connor and Cipriani were constantly featured in the media for their successful integration into Melbourne’s social scene during their time at the Rebels, while Cooper made headlines for…being Quade Cooper.
Another ardent Union fan supported the call for greater representation from exponents of the 15 a-side game.
“NRL and AFL bias. Judges appealing to masses- yet again” tweeted @weplayinheaven, which received the following double reposte;
“go have an expresso latay” from @northqueenslander and;
“you’re a flanker mate!” from @eaglesrulz
Various theories have arisen to explain the NRL/ AFL stranglehold over the award nominees, but, ultimately, it is their greater propensity for creating headlines through their off field actions which has seen them dominate the awards.
Union fans must wait and see whether their heroes can add their names to the already long list of NRL and AFL players who are in contention for both the 2016 Frownlow Medal and the Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.
First published April 2016.