The Burgess brothers of the NRL have staged a take-over of The Fronwlow Medal Hall of Fame after Luke earned a nomination for a drunken bar fight in Arizona. Luke now joins younger brothers Sam and George as nominees for the prestigious award 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.
Luke and teammate John Sutton were handcuffed outside a bar in Flagstaff, Arizona in 2015 during a South Sydney pre-season training camp. They were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. They were forced to sit on the kerb after it was alleged that the bouncer has asked Sutton to leave and Burgess intervened and pushed the bouncer to the ground, drawing blood.
The police report claimed Sutton and Burgess were intoxicated, rude and aggressive towards the bouncer before the fight, and told bar staff to ‘come outside’ upon being asked to leave. The bouncer later dropped charges against the pair after an ‘agreement’ was reached.
Luke has retired from the NRL after playing with the Rabbitohs and Manly, and is now a ride-share driver with DiDi.
This marks the first time three brothers have been nominated for Frownlow honours in the same year. The Silvagni brothers of the AFL earned nominations in 2019 and Matthew and Andrew Johns have both been nominated.
Earlier this year, George was nominated for numerous scandals.
He took two nude selfies in 2013 and they somehow made their way onto the gay porn site and were also circulated on Twitter. No one was able to explain how they ended up on the site, and no action was taken against Burgess by either the NRL or the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
In the same year, he was given a two-match suspension and a $10,000 fine after he was charged by Queensland police with throwing a street sign through a car window in Redlynch near Cairns. He was charged with two counts of wilful damage to a car and was ordered to undertake an anger management program and 50 hours of community work.
To strengthen his bid for a place in the hall of fame, he then got himself involved in a road rage incident in 2021, just weeks after signing a deal with the Dragons to return to the NRL. It is alleged that Burgess left his vehicle after he said he was being filmed by another driver, had an argument, and threw the man’s phone on the ground. He was charged with malicious damage.
Meanwhile, Sam is a perennial Frownlow favourite, having earned nominations for either the medal or the hall of fame in 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, for incidents including driving offences, social media scandals and allegations of domestic violence.
Earlier this year he was caught driving without a valid NSW licence and using an unregistered vehicle, and allegedly failed a drug test. Some media outlets claim he tested positive for cocaine, and was on his way to pick up his children. Sam is already in the hall of fame.
Three of the four Burgess brothers are now in contention for a prized position in The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame. The only question is, will brother Tom join them?