Set Fire to Someone – Be A Role Model!

Setting fire to mascots is more common among footballers than you might think. Clinton Jones and Julian O’Neill both did it and both earned nominations for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.

Former AFL player Jones used a cigarette lighter to set fire to the costume of short-statured entertainer Blake Johnston during a Mad Monday celebration in 2013.

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. Kiwi international Shaun Kenny-Dowall won the inaugural medal in 2015 and NRL player Manase Fainu 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.

If setting fire to someone is not strange enough, in the aftermath of the incident the AFL chief at the time, Andrew Demetriou, apologised to the St Kilda player, who then said,

“I have accepted his apology.”

Hall of Fame inductee O’Neill set fire to a dolphin costume being worn by a teenage boy on an official team cruise. The former Rugby League player was so drunk on the cruise that he also stripped to his undies, jumped off the boat, swam to the river bank and hitched a ride back to town.

Jones has not quite emulated the feats of O’Neill, so he will have to wait until late 2023 to find out if he has done enough to be inducted into The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.

Image: NuNa


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