Former NRL player Craig Field gleefully accepted his Frownlow Hall of Fame nomination from inside his cell at Cessnock maximum security prison.
Field was rewarded with extra rations when prison staff delivered the news to the plucky former halfback, who was sentenced to a 10-year term for manslaughter after assaulting a man in Kingscliff, NSW, in 2012.
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.
The Souths, Manly and Wests Tigers rep was also fined for missing training during his career and was once suspended by the NRL for testing positive for stimulants.
Field spoke of his enormous pride at being nominated for the Hall of Fame.
“Yeah, na mate, it’s just a huge honour to be mentioned in the same sentence as your Todd Carneys and your Ben Cousins’ and your Julian O’Neill’s, it’s just huge.”
“It makes all the hard yards worth it”.
Field expressed regret at not being able to attend the official Frownlow Hall of Fame ceremony later this year, but was confident that, with continued good behaviour, he will one day be able to see the Hall of Fame in person.
“Even if I don’t see it myself, I reckon there’ll be another Frownlow medallist in my cell pretty soon anyway, so we can celebrate together – we could even get a little prison footy team together,” he said optimistically.
Frownlow judges are currently in negotiations with corrective services departments throughout the country to erect a tribute to The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame inductees in every prison in Australia.
First published in March 2017.