The five-man scrum combines the traditional eight-man scrum with the three-man scrum employed in Rugby Sevens and has been introduced in honour of the five ACT Brumbies players who employed the tactic in an argument with a South African taxi driver, which also earned them a nomination for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.
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.
Former ACT Brumbies players Joe Roff, Rod Kafer, Owen Finegan, Bill Youngand Peter Ryan formed a scrum to push a taxi away from a police station in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2000. The driver had pulled into the station for assistance after the players had refused to pay the fare. Instead of finding a solution, however, the driver found his car down the street with no taxi metre and damage to the vehicle.
This occurred after the five players had become intoxicated at a restaurant, causing them to run around with their pants down and draw all over the tables with tomato sauce.
Rumours surfaced at the time that the players behaved in this manner at the restaurant because Brumbies officials had refused their demands to take them to McDonalds, buy them a McHappy meal and let them play in the kiddies’ playground.
Three of the players were fined and suspended by rugby authorities as a result of their behaviour, while two were issued with warnings.
The five-man scrum is expected to be a hugely popular addition to the game they play in heaven. Proponents argue that it will help to speed up the game, which will attract more viewers in an age of short-form sport.
However, northern hemisphere teams have fiercely rejected any move which will threaten their stranglehold on this facet of the game and hand an advantage to the already dominant southern hemisphere nations.
The revolutionary concept carries a gender-specific label because it will be implemented in the men’s game first, as it was invented by male players from the Brumbies. It will then become the norm for the women’s game and even filter down to the junior level.
While the finer details are still being formulated, it is known that players will be forced to drop their pants before forming the scrum, in another tribute to the scrum’s creators. This is a very exciting prospect for those packing down in the second row and for the audience, particularly if they are enjoying a meat pie while watching the game.
The taxi debacle was one of a number of drunken scandals involving Australian sportsmen (including Rugby League players) to occur around this time. This prompted a report on the ABC Radio program ‘PM’ into player behaviour, during which NRL spokesman John Brady claimed,
“…the fact of the matter is there’s been an enormous amount of work done and there are very few incidents.”
Judges of The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame invite Mr. Brady to stay tuned to this blog, and to consult http://www.instagram/thefrownlowmedal for the latest updates on Australian based footballers who have been involved in off-field incidents.
First published in May, 2018.