NRL player Jack de Belin is famous for his love of sharing. It earned him his first Frownlow nomination and it has earned him another, after he was belatedly fined for attending Paul Vaughan’s infamous house party.
De Belin has just returned to first grade after avoiding conviction for alleged sexual assault, and has now been accused of covering up his presence at the house party which saw twelve St George Illawarra players fined and nominated for The Frownlow Medal.
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.
After seeing almost the entire Dragons first-grade team get into trouble and earn nominations for severely breaching COVID-19 protocols, De Belin decided it was time to share in the fun and earn another nomination for himself. The former State of origin player was fined $1000 for breaching public health orders and will face further punishment from the NRL.
When media outlets first broke the story, none of them mentioned De Belin’s name. Fans assumed he had been smart enough to stay away from the controversial gathering, or that maybe he wasn’t invited – or maybe he chose to stay at home with his partner and their young child. Just hours after the initial story broke, however, De Belin was accused of attending the party and of covering it up.
De Belin and his teammates now await the punishment from the NRL, whole Dragons fans are wondering if they will have any players left to play their next game.