The 2022 AFL All Australian team hides a secret. Well, four secrets actually.
Four of the best players in the Australian Football League are also great role models off the field, and this is how they earned nominations for The Fronwlow Medal.
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.
Steven May – Melbourne Demons
May was involved in one of football’s hottest bromances with teammate Jake Melksham in 2022. So powerful were their feelings that they erupted into a passionate ‘scuffle’ in a Melbourne restaurant.
May was suspended for one game by the Demons leadership group, because he was not supposed to be drinking while recovering from an injury, while both players were ordered to take part in community service “…to ensure they understand the responsibility and impact they have as role models within the community.”
Like all committed partners, and all professional footballers, May and Melksham are incredibly ‘remorseful’ of their actions and are said to have kissed and made up
Christian Petracca – Melbourne Demons
Petracca is also a Demon, and is also fond of sharing the love. He is one of the Fronwlow Footy Fondlers who was caught on camera touching a teammate’s genitals while their coach spoke to the team on the field during the three-quarter break.
The incident came just weeks after their AFL colleagues, especially from the Richmond Tigers, were caught, criticised and punished for doing exactly the same thing.
In the footage, Petracca’s teammate appears to poke him “in the centre square” and Petracca seems to enjoy the sensation so much that he returns the favour.
“Coach told us to improve our hand balls,” said Petracca.
“So this is what we did.”
“He told us to get our hands on the ball more often, to get right in there and punch some holes through the middle, because at that time Essendon were still really strong and it was a tough game. We don’t really know what the fuss is about. AFL is a physical game and a contact sport. Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty”
Shai Bolton – Richmond Tigers
Bolton earned his nomination in 2021 when he and teammate Willie Rioli were drawn into a fight at a nightclub after another man apparently acted inappropriately towards Rioli’s girlfriend. The altercation gave Bolton a fractured wrist, while Rioli was reportedly punched in the face and sustained a cut under his eye which required two stitches. Sources claim that Bolton stepped in to help Rioli with the unnamed patron, and this is why neither player was punished.
Tyson Stengle – Geelong Cats
Stengle is the greatest role model of all of the All Australian players.
In 2020, he became the first footballer in history to earn three nominations for The Frownlow Medal in the same year, after being involved in a mysterious ‘off-field matter’.
While playing for the Crows, he scored his first nomination for drink driving, and the second for possession of illicit drugs. He was finally stood down by the Crows. His third nomination was for the mysterious matter, which adds more intrigue to his historic achievement.