England’s Burgess brothers could become the first siblings to be inducted into The Fronwlow Medal Hall of Fame in the same year. Sam, Luke and George are all in contention for the award in 2021 after joining 39 professional footballers in committing off-field scandals.
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 is the big brother of the NRL family and he was nominated for a drunken bar fight in Arizona while on a Rabbitohs pre-season training camp in 2015. Luke and John Sutton were handcuffed and investigated by police after being kicked out of the bar and picking a fight with a bouncer.
George was involved in a road rage incident this year, and received nominations in 2013 for throwing a street sign through a car window, and for somehow appearing naked on a gay porn website.
Meanwhile, Sam is a 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.
If the Burgess brothers are successful, they would create history. Andrew and Matthew Johns were both nominated in 2018, but only Andrew was inducted. Even off the field Matthew couldn’t match his brother’s rugby league achievements.
Defending Australia’s honour.
A host of Aussie footballers from the NRL and AFL are doing their best to ensure that a bunch of Englishmen don’t take over the biggest prize in Aussie sport.
Like Father, Like Son
Jamil Hopoate is attempting to join his dad John in the hall of fame. Jamil earned a Wife Beater tattoo this year after being found guilty of assaulting his partner in 2020. He 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. Earlier this year he led police on a chase through Sydney after jumping out of a truck containing $155 million worth of cocaine. These incidents followed a stint in prison for a violent assault outside a Manly pub in 2014.
His father won induction for all manner of controversies, including the infamous finger up the undies of an opposition player. Currently, Jim and Andrew Krakouer of the AFL are the only Father – Son combo in the hall of fame.
This is real
AFL star Heath Shaw once crashed into a parked car while driving drunk and then lied about the incident to the media. He was also suspended from AFL for gambling on matches and detained by police for drunken behaviour in public. He strengthened his bid for Frownlow immortalisation when he and Sam Burgess both appeared on the reality TV show SAS Australia. It’s amazing how many Frownlow nominees appear on reality TV shows.
Have a beer with an alcoholic
Jason Smith flew out of control after his NRL career. The Australia representative confessed to years of alcohol and drug abuse and claims he considered suicide. He was also implicated in the drug supply ring which earned prison sentences for two other former NRL players and Frownlow nominees, Matt Seers and John Touma. His lawyer suggested that his fans could help him get his life back on track by having a beer with him.
A Current Affair
Jake Carlisle can thank A Current Affair for his nomination for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame. Carlisle was filmed by the Channel 9 program snorting cocaine on the same day that he was traded from Essendon To St Kilda in 2015.
The Pollie Puncher.
Chris Tarrant might get into the hall of fame on popularity alone. He did something every Australian has always wanted to do; he punched a politician.
The Skull Smasher
It sounds like the name of a professional wrestler, but it’s the title of a former NRL player. Gideon Gela-Mosby threw away his footy career with the Cowboys after smashing a man’s skull in 2020.
It finally happened
Anthony Mundine is a former NRL player, Boxer, and one of the most controversial athletes in Australia. That said, he didn’t receive a Frownlow nomination until this year, and only because of a bizarre anti-vaccination post on social media.
Who will make it?
Who will be inducted into The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame in 2021? The candidates listed above certainly have a strong chance, but so do other professional footballers, who have until the end of this year to impress Frownlow judges and become part of Australian sporting history.