Queensland NRL player Sam Thaiday is hoping his second State of Origin game for 2016 will be more exciting, fulfilling and impressive than game 1, in which he ‘got the job done’ against a NSW team packed with Frownlow Medal nominees.
Thaiday will be the only Queensland Frownlow Medal nominee to play in game two, following the withdrawal of ‘The Squatter’, Nate Myles. In contrast, NSW will field six players listed for Frownlow honours, including debutant Jack Bird.
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. The first medal was awarded to Sydney Roosters and New Zealand representative Shaun Kenny-Dowall in 2015.
The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame honours former players who receive media attention for similarly scandalous behaviour and its inductees include Ben Cousins and Todd Carney.
“There’s a lot of guys in that NSW team with a lot of experience, so it’s going to be tough.” said Thaiday.
“We lost Nate which is a huge blow and the NSW guys are ready for action, but I’ll do my best to ‘take one for the team’ in Brisbane. I talked a lot about the first time with the other guys in the Queensland team and I think we all learned something from game 1 which we can put into action in game 2.”
The NSW nominees, for either The Frownlow Medal or The Forwnlow Medal Hall of Fame, are captain Paul Gallen, Greg Bird, Blake Ferguson, Michael Jennings, Dylan Walker and Bird,
Bird was nominated earlier this year when he intervened in an incident involving last year’s winner, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, at a bar in Coogee, on Sydney’s Eastern Beaches.
Thaiday will also use the Origin game to impress the judges of this year’s Frownlow Medal, after seeking advice from a fellow nominee and ex-Wallaby.
“I had a chat to Stephen Hoiles. He gave me some good tips on how to handle the media after the game.”
First published in June 2016.