Jaidyn Stephenson firms as favourite for The Frownlow Medal.

Punters are placing huge bets on Jaidyn Stephenson to win The Frownlow Medal after the AFL player earned the harshest punishment of any footballer this year.

Stephenson was banned for 10 matches after it was discovered he had bet on AFL games, and he will miss the remainder of the home and away season. The Collingwood player apparently bet on three games in which he was playing, and was also fined $20,000.

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.

Stephenson’s punishment is more severe than any other Frownlow nominee in 2019. The previous favourite, NRL player Scott Bolton, was stood down for only five games after pleading guilty to assaulting a woman in a nightclub, while a host of other players were given shorter bans, or fines, for a vast range of scandals.

Former Cowboys player Ben Barba was banished from the NRL earlier this year, but was never actually found guilty of assaulting his partner, and fellow NRL player Dylan Walker was found not guilty of assaulting his partner.

Of course, Stephenson must still await the outcome of the court cases involving Rugby League players Jarryd Hayne and Jack de Belin, who were charged with allegedly sexually assaulting women. Now that Stephenson has some time on his hands, perhaps he will offer his services to the legal representatives of both of these players to ensure they are found not guilty.

According to news reports, none of the bets that Stephenson placed were successful. Let’s hope he has more luck with The Frownlow Medal.

Image: NuNa

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