Andrew Johns and Brendan Fevola lead a star-studded cast of wife-beaters, drunks, urinators, criminals, drug dealers, gamblers and fantastic role models to be inducted into The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame in 2018.
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 before Corey Norman in 2016 and Tim Simona in 2017.
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.
AFL and NRL players dominate the inductees, which is devoid of players from Rugby Union or Football this year.
Former AFL player Fevola surpassed all others with achievements that almost rival Cousins. There are so many, they must be listed in point form.
- Attempted to steal clothes from a dry cleaners in Melbourne, fined $8000 by Carlton, ordered to do community service.
- Accused of spraying a woman in the face with a fire extinguisher and stealing alcohol from a hotel.
- Kicked out of Crown casino. Failed to attend a team recovery session, suspended for one game.
- Sent home from Ireland while representing Australia in International Rules series after assaulting barman. Back home, split up with his wife, and mother of his children, after being caught having an affair with Lara Bingle.
- Urinated in a bar in Melbourne, fined $10,000, dropped from Carlton’s leadership group.
- Appeared in public dressed in woman’s clothing with a sex toy proudly on display, Mad Monday.
- Sex toy ploy again, 2009. Drunken behaviour at Brownlow Medal awards ceremony. Dropped from The Footy Show Grand Final episode. Did not participate in traditional Grand Final day lap of honour for Coleman medallists. Absent from Carlton awards night.
- Accused of distributing nude photos of Bingle. Admitted to serious gambling addiction.
- Lions terminated contract, 2011.
Johns took the fight to Fevola in the name of rugby league. The immortal was inducted for a drunken episode at Toowoomba airport in which he propositioned a married woman before images of him appeared on social media passed out on the floor.
The Newcastle Knights hero was involved in a horse racing controversy with racing identities and brothel owner Eddie Hayson, and was caught with illicit drugs and evading fare on the London Underground. He later confessed to drug and alcohol abuse during his career. His induction was sealed after reports that he made a racist comment during a NSW Origin camp.
Alcohol abuse also helped Chris Walker, Daniel Connors, Alan Didak and Daine Laurie secure their place in the Hall of Fame.
Walker admitted to alcohol dependency after being suspended or sacked from three NRL clubs, and the Queensland State of Origin team. His actions included breaking curfew, anti-social behaviour, an alcohol ban, and a famous battle with police involving capsicum spray.
Fellow NRL player Laurie was sacked by the Penrith Panthers for consuming alcohol on the way to a game in New Zealand, but earned his plaque in the Hall of Fame after serving time in prison for shooting at a house in 2016 and being charged with intent to murder.
Former Collingwood player Didak lied about a drink-driving incident involving himself and a teammate but was nominated for his alleged mistreatment of an ex-girlfriend, who wrote a book about the experience, and his links to the criminal who carried out a Melbourne CBD shooting.
Connors, meanwhile, combined two elements that will guarantee a footballer a nomination for Frownlow honours – alcohol and Ben Cousins. Connors’ fight with Cousins earned him a black eye and a suspension by Richmond. He was suspended again for further alcohol-related incidents and was finally sacked after he misused medication and missed a training session. He assured his place in the Hall of Fame after pleading guilty to reckless conduct in a licensed premises which left a man with a severed tendon.
Domestic violence and abuse of women once again earned footballers a place in the Hall of Fame.
Anthony Cherrington narrowly avoided jail after assaulting his girlfriend, and damaging property, when she tried to leave him. Fellow NRL players Addin Fonua-Blake and Kirisome Auva’a, both pleaded guilty to violence against their partners, while Auva’a was eventually sacked by the South Sydney Rabbitohs for a second breach of the NRL illicit substances policy.
Luke O’Donnell played rugby league for NSW and Australia and was recently in court after being arrested and charged with drug supply, as well as accusations of domestic violence, assaulting a female police officer, resisting arrest and property damage. Police reportedly used a taser on him and took out an AVO on behalf of his own father.
John Touma and John Tobin both played for the Roosters and were both arrested and charged with importing and dealing large quantities of drugs to the public and to code-swapper Karmichael Hunt, as well as other footballers. Touma also pleaded guilty to breaching bail conditions and was once shot in the stomach due to a bad debt.
The final inductees into The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame for 2018 are two former Parramatta players who severely lowered the tone of Centennial Park, in Sydney’s exclusive eastern suburbs. In broad daylight, Royce Hura and Aukuso Junior Paulo were arrested by stun grenade in the park, and found to be in possession of semi-automatic weapons and more than half a million dollars in cash.
All of the proud inductees are currently preparing their Sunday best in readiness for the biggest night in Australian sport, the award ceremony for The Frownlow Medal and The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.