Former AFL player Nick Stevens was inducted into The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame for physically assaulting his ex-girlfriend, but this must have slipped his mind, because he has earned a second nomination for fraud.
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.
Stevens was charged in 2019 with multiple counts of fraud involving a failed business installing pools in people’s homes, after earning a place in the hall of fame in 2017. Stevens was accused of five counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage, which earned him more than $144,000.
The court heard that Stevens took $3,300 from each victim and promised to install a swimming pool. He then charged the victims larger sums of between $24,075 and $30,483, but the pools were never installed. The former Carlton and Port Adelaide player was also charged with one count each of making and using a false document.
Judges of the prestigious award are still deciding whether Stevens can be nominated this year, if he already has a prized place in the hall of fame. They are likely to use the Cousins Clause, which is named after serial scandalist Ben Cousins, who earns nominations every year despite having been inducted in 2017. Fellow AFL player Sam Newman, and NRL disaster John Hopoate, have also benefitted from this clause.
The question is whether Stevens will want such a minor charge recorded on his hall of fame plaque, which already details the horrific and sustained physical and psychological abuse he inflicted on his former partner.