Former NRL player Manu Vatuvei has been nominated for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame after being accused of his second drug-related scandal. Vatuvei was accused of importing illicit drugs into New Zealand just three years after he scored his first Frownlow nomination for a separate drug controversy.
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 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 New Zealand international could face life in prison after recently revealing that in 2019 he was charged with possessing methamphetamine for supply and importing the Class A drug. Vatuvei finally confessed to being the subject of the charges when he posted a message on social media.
“In 2019 I was charged with importation, possession and supply of methamphetamine. All of these charges are accusations and I will be fighting my innocence for these charges. I know there’ll be a lot of questions … but I’ve been advised from my legal team that’s all I can talk about.”
The bullocking winger is no stranger to drug controversies. In 2016 he was nominated for The Frownlow Medal after being stood down by the Warriors for his poor attitude and for mixing prescription drugs with energy drinks on a night out.
The cult hero now joins a select group of footballers who have been nominated for The Frwonwlow Medal and The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame. The question is, will he join an even more select group of footballers serving time behind bars?