The biggest double fault in their careers has earned Former AFL players Nathan Buckley and Brent Sanderson nominations for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.
Buckley and Sanderson played a seemingly innocent game of tennis which was in breach of the AFL’s COVID-19 bio-security protocols, and the Collingwood coaches were served a $25,000 fine and forced to self-isolate for 24 hours.
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.
The head coach and assistant coach formed a doubles partnership for the tennis game, and were punished because the pair they played against were not members of the Collingwood team’s COVID-19 bubble. They are not the first football coaches to be punished for breaching protocol. Former NRL players, and now coaches, Wayne Bennett and Alan Langer were punished for the same offence within the past few weeks.
Speaking to the media after the incident, Buckley said;
“I need to be better”
But it’s unclear whether he needs to improve his adherence to the COVID-19 regulations, or his serve and volley game.
The Collingwood stalwarts have requested adjacent seats at the awards night for The Frownlow Medal and The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame, where they can celebrate with many other Magpies players who were also found guilty of breaches this year.