The Frownlow Medal can reveal that NRL player Paul Vaughan signed in under the name Paul Vautin at a cafe in the Illawarra and subsequently earned himself a nomination for the prestigious cross-code award. Vaughan’s alleged attempt to conceal his identity, and his visit to the cafe, are breaches of the NRL’s strict COVID-19 restrictions which players and team staff must obey in order for the competition to continue.
The NSW and Australian representative has not shared the name he allegedly used at the cafe, but The Frownlow Medal can reveal that it was the name of the retired Manly and Roosters player Vautin.
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.
Sources close to Vaughan explained the decision.
“Well, he says everyone calls him Paul Vautin anyway because their names sound so similar, and because Vautin is on the TV all the time. Plus, Fatty is not exactly known as being a genius so this is the kind of crazy thing he would do, and nobody would question it.”
No one has ever accused rugby league players of being intellectual heavyweights, and Vaughan’s actions support this theory. He chose to visit a cafe in the Illawarra, despite playing for a team based in the Illawarra, which has a very strong interest and tradition in rugby league. Yet he obviously thought he would go unnoticed.
Furthermore, Vaughan used the name of a proud Queenslander who lives in Queensland. Like most Queenslanders, he only leaves the sunshine state for a very good reason, and grabbing a coffee in the Illawarra is not one of them.
At least he didn’t sign in as Jack De Belin.
When a footballer gets in trouble for having a coffee at a cafe, you know we’re living in crazy times.