A woman has been nominated for The Frownlow Medal. NRLW player Nita Maynard becomes the first woman to receive the honour since the award’s inception in 2015, after she was involved in an incident at a pub in Sydney.
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.
The former NSW and New Zealand representative was charged after allegedly assaulting two security guards at Northies in Cronulla, the site which earned nominations for so many players in the past, including 2019 winner Ben Barba and 2016 medallist Corey Norman. Maynard was arrested, and media reports indicate she had to be restrained after becoming aggressive and assaulting the guards.
The Sydney Roosters hooker was taken to Sutherland police station and charged with two counts of common assault and failing to leave premises when required. Interestingly, two hookers from the Roosters men’s team, Victor Radley and Jake Friend, are also Frownlow nominees, so perhaps it has rubbed off on Maynard. That said, the Roosters and the NRL have conveniently palmed off the scandal to the North Sydney Bears, the Roosters’ feeder club, where Maynard currently plays. You’d think the Rooster’s would be proud to claim such a history-making achievement.
Rumours have also surfaced that Maynard has been asked to join the men’s team when her expected suspension ends. The Roosters have suffered many injuries to key players already this season, and they know Maynard would fit in during team bonding sessions.
The nomination of a woman is unprecedented, and has left many questions unanswered:
Does she compete against men for the award?
Yes. The Frownlow Medal does not discriminate. The Frownlow Medal has always judged players on their actions and not their gender, race, colour, religion, sexuality or nationality. Players need only represent an Australia – based team from one of the four major codes in order to qualify. Woman have always been eligible, they just hadn’t been nominated.
Is this a new era of gender equality?
Can she attend the awards night for The Frownlow Medal and The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame?
Yes, but would she want to? She’d be the only woman there.
Why did she do it?
Who knows. Apparently she’d had a few drinks, and alcohol has caused most of the nominations for The Frownlow Medal. Then again, it happened in The Shire, so maybe she mistook the security guard for Prime Minister Scott Morrison and did what many Australian women would love to do – take a swing!
Will she win?
She’s a chance. As they say in sport, you’ve got to be in it to win it. She faces tough opposition, though, from players nominated for stabbing, assault and rape.
Either way, Maynard will now be remembered as the first woman in history to be nominated for The Frownlow Medal.
Will she be the last?