Chris Dawson leads a cast of stars into The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame in 2022. Dawson played rugby league for the Newtown Jets in the 1970s and was recently sentenced to prison for murdering his wife more than 40 years ago.
Dawson was found guilty of murdering his wife Lynette so that he could live with a teenage lover who was also his student. The high-profile case spawned a podcast called The Teachers Pet, and gained enormous media attention.
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.
Dawson’s deeds will be immortalised in a secured plaque in The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame, alongside the following former footballers:
Brett Finch (NRL) Pleaded guilty to one count of using a carriage service to transmit, publish or promote child abuse. Somehow avoided prison.
Craig Young (Rugby League) Young helped Finch avoid prison by providing him with a character reference during the trial.
Rex Hunt (AFL) The footy and TV star threatened a man with gardening tools during a road rage incident. Hunt brandished the tools after the other man threw a punch, before the fishing guru yelled:
“You wanna die? You wanna die? Do you want to die?”
Hunt then apparently chased the man on foot.
Kerem Bulut (A League) The former Wanderers player was charged with intimidation at a McDonald’s in Sydney’s west. The argument attracted police and Bulut was eventually granted conditional bail. McDonald’s was a sponsor of the Wanderers at the time.
The young Socceroo spent time in prison, and in rehab, and was charged with assaulting a cellmate at Silverwater Prison while on remand. The alleged victim was taken to hospital with a broken eye socket and bruising to his head. Bulut is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood Militants and has been arrested for alleged offences including malicious wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm; robbery in company; participate in criminal group; assist criminal activity, affray and intimidation of court witnesses. He was also banned from Turkish football for four years after testing positive for cocaine while playing for Menemen Belediye in 2018.
The Wife Beaters
The following footballers have all been found guilty of violence against women:
Albert Proud (AFL) Proud was sentenced to five and a half years in prison for seriously injuring his girlfriend during a drunken assault in 2015. He pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm and wilful damage, but could have faced a murder charge had the woman not received medical attention immediately after the assault.
Reports indicate that Proud punched his girlfriend in the chest and attempted to strangle her after getting drunk at a friend’s wedding. The injuries were so severe that the woman spent 33 days in hospital and suffered lasting injuries.
This was not the first allegation of assault against Proud. The Brisbane Lions suspended him in 2009 after accusations of assault from a 23-year-old woman in a Gold Coast nightclub. Proud took leave from the club a year later to deal with alcohol issues.
The Lions finally parted ways with him in 2011 after he assaulted a police officer.
Andrew Lovett (AFL) Lovett was found guilty of ongoing domestic violence lasting nearly two years. The crime included punching, spitting and threatening, and he was sentenced to eight months in prison.
Lovett spent Christmas 2021 behind bars after being refused bail for the assaults. The long list of incidents include leaving the victim with multiple bruises on her arms, threatening her with references to his bikie gang links, and falsely claiming he got a previous partner pregnant, as well as blaming her for making him angry and accusing her of cheating on him before punching her in the head.
On another occasion, the talented forward arrived home drunk after an AFL function and spat on the victim, before pouring beer over her. Lovett was ordered to stay away from the victim, but contacted her via his brother’s Instagram account.
Lovett was awarded two Wife Beater Tattoos. First for assault of another woman, which occurred in 2011 on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. The woman had taken Lovett in when he was homeless, and the assault started after Lovett discovered the woman had told someone that he sold his medals to fund his alcohol and gambling addictions. One of the medals was from the Anzac Day game in 2005.
Danny Williams (NRL) Williams pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm after smashing a beer glass on a woman’s head at a bar in Sydney, leaving her with a laceration. She did not require hospital treatment.
According to reports, the former Storm and North Sydney Bears player assaulted the woman when she complained about his singing. He was handed an 18-month community correction order to be of good behaviour and fined $1000.
This incident marked his second nomination for Frownlow honours. In 2018, he was in contention after leaving then teammate Ben Roarty with 30 stitches on his face during an end of season trip to Hawaii during their playing days.
Brennan Stack (AFL) Stack and another man attacked two young women in a Perth carpark. The women were left with serious injuries and were taken to hospital, while a third woman was also assaulted during the incident.
According to the CCTV footage, Stack is shown punching and hitting one of the women until she passes out, while both men are seen kicking a woman in the head. One of the women attempts to escape by crawling along the ground, but is seen and prevented from escaping. Reports also indicate that the players stomped on the victims’ heads and threw a bottle at one – at times while the women were unconscious.
Curtis Scott (NRL) Scott was found guilty of four separate charges against his then girlfriend, herself an accomplished athlete. A magistrate pointed to evidence that Scott put his hand on the woman’s neck and “launched” her over a lounge into a wall, causing her to skin her arm and sustain an egg-sized lump on her head.
During another incident, the judge was convinced that Scott “charged” at the woman, and that there was an abundance of evidence that Scott made death threats, while rejecting his claims that he only threatened to harm himself.
During the relationship and its break up, Scott also drove a car into a tree. Other charges against him were dismissed.
The former Raiders and Storm player was once accused of punching a man several times in a nightclub and causing severe damage to the man’s nose. He also missed a large chunk of the 2020 season after serving a suspension for clashing with police on Australia Day.
Joel Romelo (NRL) Romelo was sacked by Cronulla and Penrith for incidents including drink driving. He also played for the Bulldogs and Storm, but went to prison for drug possession and trafficking, driving dangerously while unregistered, unlicensed and uninsured, and with meth in his system.
In 2016, he was charged for his role in a meth dealing ring in Darwin. Following an anonymous tip off, Romelo was found with 14g of methamphetamine in his vehicle, and another 2g in his home, alongside $10,000 in cash. He was found to be in breach of bail and was remanded in custody.
A year later, the former hooker was jailed for two years and disqualified from driving as a result of the driving and drug offences. He clearly did not rehabilitate while behind bars, and in 2019 he was jailed for three years for two high speed car chases and domestic violence.
Romelo eventually pleaded guilty to attacking his ex-girlfriend. The court heard that he broke her eye socket during a violent attack, and ripped chunks from her hair, as well as punching and choking her until she almost lost consciousness, because she refused to give him the passcode to her phone.
All of these players were officially inducted during the awards night for The Fronwlow Medal and The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.