Former AFL player Aaron Lord is holding your Centrelink payment, and for this reason he has been nominated for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame. The former Hawthorn and Geelong player narrowly avoided a prison sentence after being found guilty of scamming $60,000 from Centrelink, and he confessed to abusing drugs and alcohol during his post-football career.
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.
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.
Lord pleaded guilty to three counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception. He claimed that he had earned no money during the time in question, but he had actually earned more than $170,000. In total, he made 73 false claims to Centrelink. Perhaps all of the knocks on the head he took as a football player made him forget – then again, he’s not a rugby player so that excuse doesn’t hold up.
As well as ripping off the Aussie taxpayer, Lord admitted to abusing drugs and alcohol as his life descended into chaos and his marriage broke down. He also lost his house during these turbulent times.
Lord was handed an 18 month community corrections order and forced to complete 150 hours of unpaid work, and was ordered to undertake alcohol and mental health treatment.
It was reported that Lord had later found full-time employment in the travel industry, and one has to wonder whether the current travel restrictions and job losses in travel and tourism have forced him to apply for financial assistance from Centrelink.