The former Manly Sea Eagle once spat at a police officer and landed himself in more trouble after a drunken street fight with a friend.
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 before Corey Norman in 2016 and Tim Simona in 2017.
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 Julian O’Neill.
Taufua was charged with assault and spitting at a police officer at a nightclub on the Gold Coast in 2012. He had earlier been kicked out of the club where he was celebrating his 21st birthday. As a result, he narrowly avoided a jail term and was banned from entering any licensed venue in Queensland, which was a bit of a problem, because stadiums in which he played Rugby League are all licensed venues. Thus, he had to be granted special dispensation just to play football.
The winger was in trouble on another occasion when a few too many soft drinks led to a fight with fellow Frownlow nominee, and former Bulldog, Jacob Loko, outside a hotel in Sydney in 2015. This scuffle earned him a $10,000 fine and an alcohol ban for the remainder of the year and the video of the friends brawling was splashed all over the internet.
Taufua has plenty of time to assess his chances of being inducted into The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame, every time he passes over, or under, the Spit Bridge which connects Manly to the rest of the world.
First published in February, 2018.