Sharrod Wellingham made history as the only player to play in grand finals with both Collingwood and West Coast, but do you know how he earned his nomination for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame?
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 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.
Wellingham almost threw away his career as it was getting started. In 2008, he was in his second AFL season and playing at Collingwood, when he was caught drink driving. The incident cost the Magpies their sponsorship with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC).
Police discovered Wellingham had a blood-alcohol reading of 0.13, while the player claims he was simply moving his car 100 metres up the road after a party. He was given a $5,000 fine by the club over the incident, but has since recouped this cost with his football earnings and the pay packets from lucrative corporate speaking gigs.