Female footballers remain conspicuous in their absence from The Frownlow Medal despite the increasing popularity and growth of the women’s games across Australia’s four major football codes.
Not one single female athlete has been nominated for The Frownlow Medal or The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame since the inception of the awards in 2015.
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. NRL player Shaun Kenny-Dowall won the inaugural medal in 2015 and code-swapper Karmichael Hunt was the most recent recipient.
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.
Judges of the most prestigious award in Australian sport were recently asked to justify the absence of women and the absolute male domination of the award.
“No female athlete has committed an off-field scandal,” stated a spokesperson for the judging committee.
“If a female athlete commits a scandal, similar to the various scandals committed by the 235 male footballers who have so far been nominated for the award, then that woman will be nominated.
To our knowledge, and after extensive research examining all available sources, we have been unable to find one single incident involving a female footballer that would warrant nomination.”
Female athletes have avoided bringing their respective sports into disrepute despite the growing popularity of the four codes, including AFLW, the W-League, NRL Women’s and Super W.
In a future of anticipated gender equality, will a woman ever earn a nomination for The Frownlow Medal?