James Roberts raised a glass of soft drink to celebrate becoming the 50th footballer to be nominated for The Frownlow Medal in 2016.
The Brisbane Broncos speedster earned his nomination after a drunken incident at Normanby Hotel in Brisbane, in which he allegedly abused a female staff member and had to be restrained by security staff.
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.
Roberts was excited by the nomination but believes he had earned it long ago.
“It’s about time,” he exclaimed.
“I’ve been fighting for this nomination since 2012 when I got drunk too many times and Souths sacked me.”
“Then I went to Penrith on my first second chance, and got sacked by them too after I smashed a taxi window, but I still didn’t get a call up for the Frownlow. All I got was a second second chance at the Titans.”
“When I was on the Gold Coast, I wanted to get amongst it, so I got myself arrested for public nuisance at Surfer’s Paradise, but still nothing. So, when I got my third second chance at the Broncos I thought, this is it, I’ve gotta go for it.
First I left my partner in labour at the hospital so I could play with the boys, but even though some people got stuck into me on social media, I still didn’t get noticed by the Frownlow judges. So, the other day I went to the Normanby where I was sure I’d be noticed and decided to get on the drink and go for it,” he explained.
“Finally I’ve been nominated, and to be the 50th, well, that’s really special.”
Asked about his chances of winning the 2016 Frownlow Medal in October, Roberts was cautiously optimistic.
“Yeah, look, I’ve got a chance. I mean, It’s not wife beating or bestiality, but I got thrown out of a bar and I’m hoping my history will help me get enough votes. But yeah, nah, mate, I just have to keep performing well and leave it up to the judges.”
First published in August 2016.