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 and Sydney Roosters player Shaun Kenny Dowall won the inaugural medal in 2015, while Corey Norman from the Parramatta Eels 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.
“I want the Frownlow,” he declared to waiting media at Tullamarine.
“That meant giving up the Brownlow, so I did it.”
“I thought about this all year, then when I saw Corey (Norman) win the medal just for drugs, bikies and a sex tape, I thought that’s it, i’ll give it back. It’s pretty clear that the Frownlow has become massive in Aussie sport – you can just see how many guys were nominated to know that it’s a huge honour.”
Watson qualifies for both honours as he was involved in the Essendon supplements program in previous seasons and because he is set to play again in 2017.
“They can give me The Frownlow Medal or put me in the Hall of Fame, I don’t care – I just want a Frownlow.”
The rumoured return of former coach James Hird to Essendon looks only to increase Watson’s chance of achieving his dream of becoming the first player ever to win the Brownlow / Frownlow double.
Watson will learn if his sacrifice was warranted when the Hall of Fame inductees are announced in December, or when The Frownlow Medal is awarded in October 2017.
First published in November 2016.