AFL player Harley Bennell has become the latest professional footballer to be nominated for The Frownlow Medal for breaching COVID-19 protocols. Bennell apparently left the Melbourne Demons’ high performance centre on the Sunshine Coast to visit another premises outside of the bubble.
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.
Bennell has been removed from the centre to avoid possibly contaminating other players and was suspended for four matches, while the club was fined $50,000.
This is Bennell’s fourth nomination for The Frownlow Medal in three years, after he was nominated twice in 2017 and once last year, for incidents such as driving offences, alcohol abuse, drug use and being kicked off a flight.
With Melbourne currently sitting ninth on the ladder, the next time Bennell sees his teammates and fellow AFL players is likely to be at the awards night for The Frownlow Medal and the Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame later this year.