Rugby Union star Kurtley Beale is back in a Wallabies jersey and back in contention for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame following a career littered with poor discipline and a series of ill-advised text messages.
The talented backline player created enormous controversy in 2013 – 2014 when he sent offensive text messages to Wallabies team official Di Patston. Beale admitted to distributing an offensive photo of Patston and was fined $45,000 by the ARU for sparking a conflict which drew in Australian rugby players, the coach, officials, the ARU and Patston herself and created publicity that Rugby Union really didn’t need.
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.
The text scandal occurred after Beale had previously been sent home early from the Melbourne Rebels tour of South Africa in 2013 for punching captain Gareth Delve on the team bus. Again, mobile phones proved his undoing as images and an account of the conflict landed on social media. A second suspension saw Beale dropped from the Rebels and led him to seek counselling for alcohol related issues.
Beale will find out later in 2018 if he has been inducted into The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.