The inductees into The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame for 2019 have been announced and they include a man at the centre of the most famous crime in recent Australian history as well as the partner of one of the country’s most popular soap stars.
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 code-swapper Karmichael Hunt was 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.
Former Rugby League player Chris Dawson is the subject of a massively popular podcast called The Teacher’s Pet, which chronicles the investigation into the murder of his wife Lynette. Dawson has not been found guilty of the murder which remains unsolved, but he has been charged with having sex with an underage girl during the 1980s. Furthermore, Dawson’s 16-year-old student and lover moved into his home two days after Lynette disappeared.
The second Australian drama to star in this year’s hall of fame is Home and Away. One of its most recognisable stars, Kate Ritchie, made the news when her husband, and former NRL player Stuart Webb, had an AVO placed on him by police following an incident at the couple’s home. Webb is also believed to have had battles with drug and alcohol abuse.
The Bad Boys
John Elias is one of the true bad boys of Rugby League. During and after his playing career he was sent to jail numerous times for crimes such as match fixing, possessing military-style weapons, assault, drug supply and shooting a business partner in the leg.
Chris Yarran was nominated for a drug-fuelled rampage during which he assaulted a police officer and tried to steal his gun, and the AFL star was sent to prison for crimes including theft, assault and property damage.
Robbie ‘Mad Dog’ Muir was known for his volatile temperament on the AFL field, and carried it off the field. He pleaded guilty to throwing a kitchen knife at police, who were searching for him after he threw a bar stool at a bar tender who refused to serve him alcohol…at 7.30am.
The Wife Beaters
Three players will earn the coveted Frownlow Wife Beaters tattoo at this year’s awards ceremony.
Former NRL player Brett Seymour was accused of beating his wife so badly that she ended up in a serious condition in hospital. He is also said to have had ongoing problems with drugs and alcohol. Another League player, Ken McGuinness, was charged with breaching an AVO and assaulting a woman, while AFL star Liam Jurrah pleaded guilty to breaching an AVO and punching his ex wife, as well as threatening another woman with a broken bottle. He subsequently spent time in prison.
The Frownlow Medal always uncovers the ridiculous antics of Australia’s footy heroes, and this year is no different.
Former NRL player Ben Kennedy was arrested after he broke into a high security Australian Border Force Detector Dog base, without being detected. Somewhat disconcertingly, Kennedy was found in shorts and thongs sheltering from the cold in a truck whose window he had smashed. Kennedy blamed a mixture of alcohol and pain medication.
Rhys Palmer challenges Kennedy for most bizarre nomination. The ex-AFL player threw shoes onto a race track during a harness race event in Western Australia. A shoe hit a horse and Palmer was arrested.
Brian Lake, meanwhile, made a concerted effort to earn his induction. He once spent a night in prison with his then wife, and was also thrown into a cell in Japan some years later. He has also been charged with unlawful assault, burglary, stalking and criminal damage, and was recently banned from local football after repeated on-field offences. He damaged his reputation irrevocably when he appeared as a contestant on Australian Survivor.
These lucky players have received the highest honour in Australian sport, and will be formally inducted into The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame at the upcoming awards night.