AFLW player Deni Varnhagen can attend the awards night for The Frownlow Medal later this year, whether she is vaccinated or not. Varnhagen received her nomination after her anti-vax stance saw the Adelaide Crows put her on the inactive list.
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.
Varnhagen becomes only the third woman ever to be nominated for Fronwlow honours, and it is her staunch anti-vaccination stance which has earned her that great honour. She is refusing to be vaccinated, despite the AFL rule that all players and football staff must receive their first vaccination by November 19, and must be fully vaccinated by December 17.
But that doesn’t matter at the Frownlow night of nights. Disgraced players from the four codes gather for a night of drunken debauchery, rampant drug use, unrestricted racism, sexism, homophobia, drink driving, brawling and bromance. No rules, no restrictions, no consequences. It is a hedonistic celebration of everything the players did to earn their invitation.
Varnhagen is also defying the rules of her second employer. She is a registered nurse and Hospital workers in South Australia are now also required to be vaccinated according to the latest health order.
She is determined to be free of a vaccination. She also seems to be determined to be free of an income.
Varnhagen hasn’t lost her contract with the Crows – yet. She has been delisted and told by the club that she can play for them again, and be fully paid, if she agrees to get vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Varnhagen can start planning her attack on the Frownlow awards night, alongside fellow female nominees Nita Maynard and Millie Boyle.