Youngster Tesi Niu will need to lift his game dramatically if he is to compete with the big boys of the NRL and other football codes. Niu received his first nomination for The Frownlow Medal for a driving offence, but this will not be enough to win the prize in 2021.
The young Brisbane player was fined $400 and suspended from driving for six months after being found guilty of driving without a qualified licence.
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 AFL player Elijah Taylor is the most recent recipient.
Niu faces very tough competition for Australia’s greatest sporting prize in 2021. Some experts are even predicting that this will be the toughest year ever, with four players still under investigation for sexual assault, other for domestic violence and physical assault – even before the NRL and AFL have started their seasons.
Experienced Frownlow nominees would advise the young Bronco to not only drive without a qualified licence, but to also drive drunk, speed, text and post a photo on social media while driving, and to swipe some parked cars before fleeing the scene…and that’s just for starters.
Niu might pick up some tips from teammates while they give him a lift to training. He could seek advice from his childhood idol, Anthony Milford, as well as previous nominees Payne Haas, Kotoni Staggs, Corey Oates, Cory Paix, Jake Turpin, Keenan Palasia and Tevita Pangai Jr, plus hall of fame inductee Matthew Lodge.
All is not lost for the talented fullback and centre, however. He’s still young, so has plenty of time to improve his chances of winning The Frownlow Medal.