Former AFL player Justin Murphy has been nominated for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame after prolonged physical abuse of his ex-girlfriend saw him serve two jail sentences and revealed a deep drug addiction.
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.
Murphy was first sentenced to prison for six months in 2017, after it was discovered that he had abused his then girlfriend both physically and financially. In one of the more severe incidents, Murphy held the woman down and attacked her with a blowtorch. Her injuries were so severe that she was forced to have a finger amputated. He then returned to the woman’s house a year later, got naked and ignited the same blow torhc, threatening to burn his ex and her house.
The former Geelong, Carlton, Essendon and Richmond player also managed to withdraw money from her bank account without her permission, and she was forced to move house on numerous occasions so that Murphy would not find her, even after he was released from his first stint behind bars. He then served another 59-day sentence for what was described as a sustained campaign of terror against his ex-partner.
Murphy was also required to complete community service and drug rehabilitation programs, as his legal team claimed the violence was connected to a strong addiction to ice and GHB.