Former AFL player Ben Johnson has become the final member of The Rat Pack to be nominated for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame after being involved in a drunken brawl. Johnson was charged with recklessly causing injury and unlawful assault after he tangled with teammate Chris Tarrant outside a Melbourne hotel in 2006.
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 and AFL player Elijah Taylor 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 former Collingwood player avoided conviction for the offence but did enough to earn a nomination for the Hall of Fame, alongside fellow Rat Pack members and former Collingwood players Tarrant, Dane Swan, Alan Didak and Heath Shaw.
The Rat Pack boys have been nominated for offences such as alcohol abuse, drink driving, alcohol abuse, assault, alcohol abuse, nude photos, alcohol abuse, indecent exposure, alcohol abuse, illicit drug use, alcohol abuse, links to organised crime, alcohol abuse and punching a politician – although many Australians would consider the last incident an achievement rather than an offence.
The boys are planning a mighty reunion at the awards ceremony for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame later this year.