Former NRL player Brett Finch has moved one step closer to the greatest prize in Australian sport after pleading guilty to sending child abuse material. Finch has dramatically increased his chances of being inducted into The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame after being nominated for the honour earlier this year.
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 NRL star Jarryd Hayne 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.
The former State of Origin player and gambling ambassador pleaded guilty to sending child abuse material using an adult phone chat service, while a further six charges were withdrawn by prosecutors.
He was arrested in December 2021 under allegations that he was part of a child abuse material ring using an adult phone chat service. During the court proceedings, his lawyer told reporters Finch was seeking treatment for mental health issues, but even that may not be enough to avoid severe punishment for the crime.
The guilty plea marks a remarkable downfall for Finch. He played State of Origin for NSW and was a very popular player at club level. He was known as a ‘great bloke’ in the rugby league community and was the public face of sports gambling company PointsBet.
He must return to court in September, when he will receive the verdict and find out if he ends up in prison and in The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.
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