Rugby Union player Amanaki Mafi was born in Tonga and represented Tonga at junior level. He now represents Japan and spent a short time playing for Bath in England. He currently plays in the Super Rugby competition for the Rebels in Melbourne, Australia, a city obsessed with Australian Rules Football.
No wonder he’s confused.
Maybe this is why he struggled to distinguish between friend and foe and was recently charged with assaulting his Rebels teammate Lopeti Timani, in New Zealand. The tiff earned him a nomination for The Frownlow Medal.
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.
Mafi was recently granted bail from a New Zealand court after being charged with injuring with intent to injure Timani.
Rumours surfaced that the altercation between the two good buddies stemmed from the heartbreak of their impending separation for an extended period, as both of them head to different parts of the world for the next steps of their careers.
Further rumours suggested an approach from representatives of the UFC, who were investigating the possibility of a bare-knuckled cage fight between two very large human beings.
Meanwhile, the man judged the Australian Super Rugby Player of the Year in 2017 will have to wait until October to see if he has added The Frownlow Medal to his list of accomplishments.