Can the Penrith Panthers be trusted?

Judges of The Fronwlow Medal are deciding whether the Penrith Panthers can be trusted to care for the most prestigious prize in Australian sport after they damaged the NRL premiership trophy.

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 AFL player Elijah Taylor is the most recent recipient.

The NRL has launched an investigation after images showed the Norm Provan and Arthur Summons section of the trophy separated from the base of the original trophy. The iconic statue was then photographed being treated like a baby and put in a children’s stroller, as well as being rocked in a shoulder strap while the Panthers celebrated their premiership win.

Further angering the NRL and rugby league fans were the captions such as “googoo gaga” and “dad duties” which accompanied the photos.

The premiership trophy is apparently worth $30,000. The Fronwlow Medal is priceless.

Penrith is not the first club to be nominated for The Fronwlow Medal, which is normally reserved for individual players. AFL clubs West Coast Eagles, Collingwood Magpies and Adelaide Crows were nominated for racism. Meanwhile, the Panthers’ grand final opponents, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, were nominated for nominated for covering up the many indiscretions of Sam Burgess, and the Cronulla Sharks and Canterbury Bulldogs have also been nominated.

Will the Panthers get their hands on The Fronwlow Medal later this year?

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Nathan Bock joins the Frownlow Wife Beaters Club.

Former AFL player Nathan Bock has been nominated for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame after admitting to slapping his partner and throwing beer in her face in Adelaide in 2009. He has also earned a prized Wife Beater tattoo.

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 and AFL player Elijah Taylor 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 Adelaide Crows defender and All Australian representative was charged with assault and property damage and accused of causing his girlfriend ‘considerable pain’. A court handed him a 12-month good behaviour bond and a $200 fine while the Crows slapped him with an ‘indefinite’ suspension from the club – which lasted only one game.

Bock later apologised through a prepared statement while his lawyer, Stephen White, was reported as saying,

“…in the context, these are not serious assaults,” before adding,

“…he is very mindful that he is a role model to younger people.”

This role model was later offered a contract with the Gold Coast Suns, despite the assault charges. Bock will now wait for the judges to decide if he joins a host of fellow Wife Beaters in The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.

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Tyrone May keeps sex tape at hand.

NRL player Tyrone May always has his leaked sex tape close at hand in case he needs some light relief or another nomination for The Frownlow 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 AFL player Elijah Taylor is the most recent recipient.

May had plenty of time to watch the video in 2019, when the NRL stood him down for the entire season, and he is known to use it to psyche himself up for big games or to relax after a gruelling training session.

In 2018, May was punished for filming and distributing a sex tape without consent. This is the same tape he referred to on social media while celebrating the Panthers grand final win.

The instagram post quotes lyrics from a song by rapper Drake:

“And the dirt that they threw on my name/turned to soil and I grew up out it/time for y’all to figure out what y’all gon’ do about it,”

He accompanied the lyrics with a picture of himself arriving at Parramatta Local Court for his trial. The same trial in which he pleaded guilty to committing the crime, for which he missed the 2019 season in accordance with the NRL’s no-fault stand down policy. He was also given a three-year good behaviour bond and ordered to perform 300 hours of community service.

On the most recent post, Panthers teammate Stephen Crichton wrote,

“They hate but then they all copy.”

It’s not clear who they are or what they copy, but May’s post also drew support from Spencer Leniu, Nathan Cleary, James Fisher-Harris, Viliame Kikau, Brian To’o, Moses Leota and Apisai Koroisau.

Most of these players comprise May’s post-game prayer group and are devout Christians.

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Chris Lewis’ teaching career is history.

NRL player Chris Lewis better hope the Melbourne Storm renew his contract in 2022 because his teaching career could be over.

Lewis taught high school History and English before being offered a full-time playing contract with the Storm, but his recent nomination for The Frownlow Medal puts his teaching career in doubt.

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 AFL player Elijah Taylor is the most recent recipient.

Lewis earned his nomination for appearing in a leaked video in the presence of cocaine, alongside Storm teammates Cameron Munster and Brandon Smith, who were partying with other men after losing the qualifying final to the Panthers.

He was given a $4000 fine and suspended for one match, and told to write an essay outlining the dangers of drugs.

He may never be allowed to teach children again because being caught in the presence of cocaine on social media will make it very difficult for him to secure a Working With Children Check. Without a WWCC, Lewis cannot work as a teacher, or in any direct role with children.

If Lewis is allowed back in the classroom, his students can expect to given homework tasks such as:

  • NRL players are effective role models for young Australians. Do you agree? Why, why not?
  • Write 300 words on the causes of Cameron Munster’s trip to rehab.
  • Use the following vocabulary correctly in a sentence: Illicit, Integrity Commission, Suspension, Punishment, Cocaine, Leaked video, Scandal, Disrepute.
  • Write a report on all of the NRL players who have been caught in possession of illicit drugs.
  • One thing NRL players learn from History is that they never learn from History. Discuss.

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Commiserate or celebrate: is there a difference?

Commiserating and celebrating seem to be the same thing for many NRL players, after three of the game’s biggest names were recently caught with cocaine. Reece Walsh, Brandon Smith and Cameron Munster have all been nominated for The Frownlow Medal after being caught with the white powder and charged by police.

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 AFL player Elijah Taylor is the most recent recipient.

Walsh used the white powder to celebrate, Munster to commiserate, and Smith to do both. Walsh was partying at Surfer’s Paradise just moments after being named RLPA Rookie of the Year when he was caught in possession of cocaine.

Munster, meanwhile, was commiserating the Melbourne Storm semi-final loss at a party and was filmed in possession of the illicit drug. The same leaked video incriminated his teammate Brandon Smith, who was managing the mixed emotions of missing out on the grand final and being named Dally M Hooker of the year.

They say a professional football career can be an emotional rollercoaster, but the best way to manage the highs and lows seems to be with cocaine.

If nothing else, at least it guarantees Walsh, Munster and Smith a chance to win The Fronwlow Medal in 2021. If they succeed or fail in their quest to take home the greatest prize in Australian sport, they clearly know how to process the result.

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Cameron Munster enters Role Model Rehab.

NRL player Cameron Munster has entered Role Model Rehab after earning a nomination for The Fronwlow Medal for appearing in a leaked video in the presence of cocaine.

Munster follows a well-trodden path of footballing role models who have undertaken formal rehabilitation for abuse of drugs or alcohol, and he has promised to avoid consuming alcohol for 12 months. He has also promised to be a better role model.

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 AFL player Elijah Taylor is the most recent recipient.

Munster appeared shirtless and dancing on a table beside a quantity of cocaine in the leaked video, alongside Storm teammates Brandon Smith and Chris Lewis, plus other men. Following negative press from the video, Munster was given a suspended $100,000 fine, suspended for one match and forced to attend rehab. He has also been told to avoid alcohol for a year.

The Queensland Origin star was also dropped from the Storm leadership group, which comprises fellow Frownlow nominees Jesse Bromwich (aka Captain Cocaine) and Christian Welch.

Munster told the media:

“I want the kids out there to know that my behaviour was not OK. I owe it to you to be a better role model, and I’ll strive to do that in future.”

Included in Munster’s punishment is a requirement to provide coaching and education for young men and women entering the elite sporting system, because he is such as great role model.

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Arrow vs Koroisau is the key Grand Final showdown.

Jai Arrow will face off against Api Koroisau in the battle of the Frownlow nominees in the 2021 NRL Grand Final. Arrow and Koroisau are the only players in the decider to have been nominated for The Frownlow Medal this year and both earned their nominations for similar incidents.

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 AFL player Elijah Taylor is the most recent recipient.

Koroisau and Arrow will clash in the middle of the field and it will be epic. They are fighting for a premiership and for bragging rights, having both been nominated for sneaking women into their rooms during this year’s State of Origin series. Penrith hooker Koroisau has the upper hand, because he brought his ‘companion’ into the Origin bubble twice, and because he is married. Rabbitohs forward Arrow, meanwhile, is not married and claimed the woman he met with was just a ‘dancer’, and that nothing scandalous happened.

Both players were punished for breaching COVID-19 biosecurity protocols, and for potentially shutting down the entire NRL competition, which was relocated to Queensland to escape the COVID lockdowns in other parts of Australia.

Who will win the battle between Arrow and Koroisau?

Who will win the NRL Grand Final?

Who will win The Frownlow Medal?

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Reece Walsh still in the running for a second major award.

Young NRL star Reece Walsh could add The Frownlow Medal to his rookie award this year after he was arrested for cocaine possession late one night at Surfer’s Paradise.

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 AFL player Elijah Taylor is the most recent recipient.

Moments after winning the RLPA Rookie of the Year award, Walsh was arrested at the popular nightclub strip for disobeying a move-on order, and recently confessed to being in possession of cocaine at the time.

The freakishly-talented player was the hot favourite to also win the Dally M Rookie of the Year award, but was ruled out. Not because of the recent drug bust, but because he was suspended for on-field indiscretions twice in the season.

Reece took the NRL by storm this year and at just 18 was selected for Queensland in State of Origin, but missed the game through injury. He impressed so many people when he switched to the Warriors mid-season that Kiwi legend Roger Tuivasa-Sheck moved to the wing to allow Walsh to play fullback.

He has now moved himself firmly into the senior ranks by getting nominated for the most prestigious award in Australian sport, The Frownlow Medal. He also repeated the ultimate footballer’s cliche when he said in media interviews earlier this year that he will “look to personally set a positive example for the next generation” and that he wants to make his baby daughter proud of him.

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TC Robati was running from his biggest fear.

NRL player Teui ‘TC’ Robati was trying to dodge his responsibility as a role model when he swerved a car across multiple lanes of traffic after a Mad Monday celebration. The Brisbane player was fined for dangerous driving and nominated for The Fronwlow Medal as a result of the reckless stunt.

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 AFL player Elijah Taylor is the most recent recipient.

Robati avoided conviction but was fined $1000 for swerving a car across multiple lanes of traffic on the way home from the Broncos Mad Monday celebrations in Brisbane. He was apparently in the passenger seat while his girlfriend drove, but grabbed the steering wheel when he thought they’d missed a turn off. The car swerved through traffic and other drivers had to brake to avoid an accident.

“I admit I was trying to run away from being a role model,” Robati later confessed.

“I was running away. I couldn’t take it anymore, being told I’m a role model, and I tried to get away from all the pressure.”

“People keep telling us that just because we’re pro footballers that we’re role models to young people, but that’s just crazy. I mean, look at me, I’m almost the same age as the people I’m supposed to be a role model to.”

Robati was disqualified from driving for six months and will have to grab a lift or take a ride share every time he’s required to attend a Broncos function as a role model.

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New threat forces changes to NRL Dally M awards.

A looming threat forced the NRL to make unpopular changes to the Dally M awards night in 2021 – and it wasn’t the AFL. The NRL altered the traditional format of its awards presentation in response to the growing popularity of The Frownlow Medal celebration.

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 AFL player Elijah Taylor 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.

Rugby League fans slammed the new format which saw the awards stretched over two separate nights a week apart. The first instalment returned poor television ratings and attracted widespread criticism across social media. Experts suspected the downfall could be blamed on the timing of the AFL Brownlow Medal ceremony, but realised that it was the Frownlow award which was stealing the thunder.

“Every player wants to go to the awards night for The Frownlow Medal,” revealed NRL boss Andrew Abdo.

“It is a huge night of massive partying with no rules or restrictions with players from across NRL, AFL, Super Rugby and the A-League. Players get unlimited drugs, booze, women, music, sports gambling and no pesky journalists. No player can resist this, and it’s no wonder that party is more popular than the Dally Ms.”

Players have been displaying less interest in the Dally M night since the Frownlow Medal was introduced in 2015. In response, the NRL decided to experiment with a new format in order to win back players and fans.

“The Dally M used to be the most prestigious award in the NRL, but now it’s the Frownlow,” conceded Abdo.

“Just look at the number of NRL players who get nominated every year, and the fact that every medallist, except for 2020, has been an NRL player.”

The awards night for The Fronwlow Medal and The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame will be held later this year. The potential venues include Northies, Jarryd Hayne’s Hillsong Church, Paul Vaughan’s house or the restaurant in which Adam Elliott and Millie Boyle enjoyed their toilet tryst.

Image: NuNa