Former NRL player Chris Sandow lit up the streets of his hometown Cherbourg with a drunken brawl recently in a concerted attempt to win Frownlow honours.
The skillful half-back entertained locals in the small Queensland town after returning from England, where he played in the Super League.
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. Kiwi international Shaun Kenny-Dowall won the inaugural medal in 2015, while Corey Norman won in 2016.
The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame honours former players and players who received media attention in previous seasons, for similarly scandalous behaviour, and its inductees include Ben Cousins and Todd Carney.
Most media outlets claimed Sandow had returned to Australia due to ‘homesickness’, assuming that he was pining for the opportunity to get his guns out in the balmy Queensland sun.
However, the incident revealed his true motivation.
“I want to win a Frownlow,” he stated.
“Sure, I was sick of the English weather and I miss the recreational activities on offer in Cherbourg, but, really, I came back for the Frownlow. Everyone’s getting in on it now. My old mates from Parramatta, AFL players, grand final heroes. Mate – the Frownlow is where it’s at.”
The current police investigation into the incident will determine whether Sandow is granted permission to play in the NRL again and thus whether he is eligible for the Frownlow Medal (open only to current players) or the Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.
“Mate, they can give me a Frownlow Medal or put me in the Hall of Fame, I don’t care. I just have to keep performing and leave it up to the selectors.”
The Frownlow Medal will be announced in October, while inductees into the Hall of Fame will be known later in the year.
First published in January 2017.