The Frownlow Medal has paired with reality TV shows in order to create a pathway for disgraced former footballers. The exciting initiative begins immediately and formalises an informal relationship that has existed since the inception of the medal in 2015.
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.
Former AFL player Dayne Beams will appear in the upcoming season of Celebrity Big Brother and he is the latest desperate footballer to seek fame and fortune on reality TV. Earlier in 2021, fellow AFL player Heath Shaw, and disgraced NRL star Sam Burgess appeared on SAS Australia.
The Fronwlow Medal is a natural partner of reality TV. Players receive nominations for the medal after an off-field scandal, and many appear on reality TV after a scandal, either to repair their personal brand or to earn some money having destroyed their football careers.
Under the formalised partnership, TV producers will scour the Frownlow website and Instagram account looking for wayward footballers who are desperate enough to become a contestant on one of their shows. Any player who agrees to participate in a show will automatically increase their chances of winning The Frownlow Medal or being inducted into the hall of fame.
Footballers are of particular interest to competitive shows which reward backstabbing, cheating, stealing, lying, conniving, manipulation, betrayal…and an inflated ego. Smart footballers would commit a scandal once on the show to firmly cement their Fronwlow chances and to kill an already battered reputation.
Footballers who have appeared on reality TV shows and been nominated for Frownlow honours in recent years include:
Brian Lake (AFL) – Survivor
Sam Thaiday (NRL) – Parental Guidance, Celebrity Come Dine With Me
Robert ‘Dipper’ Dipierdomenico – Excess Baggage, Celebrity Dog School
I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here
- Anthony Mundine (NRL)
- Barry Hall (AFL) (runner-up)
- Brendan Fevola (AFL) – Winner Season Two
- Dane Swan (AFL) (runner-up)
- Billy Brownless (AFL)
- It could also be argued that Frownlow favourite Ben Cousins is himself a reality TV show.
The partnership has prompted another question:
Should appearing on a reality TV show automtically earn a footballer a nomination for The Frownlow Medal or Hall of Fame?