Judges of The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame have assured former Wallaby Matt Henjak he will not be ejected from the award’s night of nights because, quite simply, anything goes.
Henjak will join some of the greats of Australian football at the gala ceremony after he committed a series of off-field indiscretions, including being sent home from a Wallabies tour.
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. Former NRL player Shaun Kenny-Dowall won the inaugural medal in 2015, while former 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.
Henjak was sent home from the tour of South Africa in 2004 for involvement in an incident in a bar. Allegations followed that the victim of Henjak’s behaviour had been paid in order to stay silent.
The talented back began his bid for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame in 2000, when he recorded a conviction for assault in the ACT. He then trashed a motel room in Bombala, NSW, for which he was fined almost $9000 and placed on a good behaviour bond. At the time, he was already on a good behaviour bond for the earlier assault conviction.
Henjak returned with another tilt at Frownlow glory in 2008 when he was sacked by the Western Force for breaking the jaw of teammate Haig Sare during a fight at a Fremantle hotel. The fine this time was $5000 and the suspension was for eight Super Rugby matches.
The former Brumby is confident of his chances of induction into the Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame and even more confident of having a great time at the awards night alongside players who have been nominated for alcohol abuse, assault, domestic violence, imprisonment, public urination and drug offences.
With a guest list like this, anything goes.