NRL player Corey Harawira-Naera has earned a nomination for The Frownlow Medal after offering after hours football classes to a school girl.
The Canterbury forward offered his expertise out of the goodness of his heart and conducted the class at the team hotel in Port Macquarie, during a Bulldogs promotional visit to the region.
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, while NRL player Ben Barba is the most recent recipient.
Harawira-Naera, and fellow ‘tutor’ Jayden Okunbor, have been suspended by the Bulldogs after it was decided that their special coaching clinic with 17-year-old girls was not in line with the standards of the ‘family club’.
The two players have not been accused of doing anything illegal, as all of the women involved in the scandal were over the age of consent and participated willingly, but the scandal has cost the club its major sponsor for the 2020 season.
Just days before the first game of the NRL season, in which the Bulldogs play the Eels, captain Josh Jackson had to attend an official photo session without a sponsor on the front of the club’s jersey.
Following this scandal, it seems Harawira-Naera’s post-football coaching career may not eventuate, while even his immediate future in the NRL is uncertain.