Brett Firman is not a household name. He played Rugby League for numerous clubs and is not remembered for reaching any great heights, so does he deserve to be remembered for his involvement in a group sex scandal in 2002?
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.
Firman was dragged into the scandal in New Zealand which involved the much more famous Matthew Johns and other Cronulla Sharks players.
Firman was present when a number of players, some of whom were never named, engaged in sex with one young woman, whose subsequent account of the sordid evening led to an investigation of sexual assault.
The investigation found that up to 10 players entered the hotel room and numerous players had sex with the same woman, while others watched.
Firman and Johns were found not guilty of assault, but the highly publicised case attracted an enormous amount of publicity in both countries and was later the subject of a special report by ABC 4 Corners.
The rumour, innuendo and uncertainty surrounding the case make it difficult for judges of The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame to decide whether Firman deserves a place besides some of the off-field greats of Australian football.