Judges of The Frownlow Medal are working furiously to secure the release of Jarryd Hayne from prison in time for the award’s night of Australia’s most prestigious sporting prize. The former NRL star was recently sentenced to five years and three months in prison after being found guilty of sexual assault and is a strong favourite to win the medal in 2021.
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 Frownlow awards night is the most popular annual sporting celebration in the country, and all nominees are invited to a night of no-holds-barred fun and drunken debauchery that rivals any Mad Monday party. As the current favourite for this year’s award, Hayne would be given front row seats and first pick of the booze, drugs and other treats offered to footballers.
Frownlow organisers are thus negotiating with authorities to secure Hayne a prison furlough, and believe he could improve his chances of release by agreeing to lead inmates’ skills and drills sessions, or appear in a movie alongside Adam Sandler.
If Frownlow judges cannot use their considerable influence to secure Hayne’s release, the former NSW and Australian representative would be forced to watch the awards presentation via livestream from behind bars, and would not be the first Frownlow nominee to do so.