Former NRL players Jamil and John Hopoate have become the latest father and son duo to be nominated for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame. Jamil was recently nominated for leading police on a car chase related to alleged drug importation and was nominated for both The Frownlow Medal and the hall of fame in the same year, while father John is the owner of the most famous finger in rugby league.
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.
Jamil allegedly got into a truck containing $155 million worth of cocaine, and sped through the streets of Sydney with the police in pursuit. He then allegedly jumped from the truck, dumped a backpack also containing cocaine and sprinted away from police in the suburb of Pagewood. He was eventually caught before he could ground the ball with downward pressure in the in-goal area.
Young Hopoate will now most likely spend time in prison, for the second time. He was sentenced to 18 months in 2014 after being found guilty of a violent assault outside a Manly pub, while he was playing for the Sea Eagles. He and two friends brutally bashed two men and hit and kicked them while they were on the ground. Jamil also argued with security guards and fled the scene, and later defended himself by saying he had self-medicated with alcohol to deal with stress and anxiety.
The back-rower was welcomed back into the NRL, where he most recently played for the Brisbane Broncos. He’s lost his contract with the Broncos even before he was charged with assaulting his partner in Port Macquarie in late 2020. Police allege Jamil hit his partner to the ground, spat at security guards, threatened to bash them and fled the scene, leaving behind the mother of his nine-month-old child. His partner was taken to hospital, and he was later caught drink-driving.
Father John was inducted into the hall of fame in 2016 after multiple nominations for offences such as playing rugby union under a false name, inserting his finger into a player’s private parts during a game, verbally abusing a touch judge and ball boy, and for numerous charges of assault.
John and Jamil now join the following father and son pairings who are already part of the Frownlow family:
Jim and Andrew Krakouer (AFL)
Gary Ablett Jr and Sr. (AFL)
Daniel and Roger Kerr (AFL)
Wendell and Tristan Sailor (NRL)