Captain Cubicle and the Titty Fiddler.

Captain Cubicle and the Titty Fiddler lead the contenders for The Fronwlow Medal as the winter codes head into the 2022 finals.

Kalyn Ponga and his trusty servant Kurt Mann join Dustin Martin and a cast of footballing role models who have excelled themselves off the field – but neither are favourites to win the prestigious 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 NRL star Jarryd Hayne is the most recent recipient.

Ponga and Mann were filmed being escorted out of a toilet cubicle in Newcastle. They were fully clothed, with drinks in hand, and claimed that Mann was helping his captain to vomit after consuming too many drinks to celebrate a house purchase. This was later found to be a lie, and the real reason was never revealed. While neither player was punished, the incident ended a horrible season for Ponga’s Knights.

This was not the first Fronwlow nomination for Mann or Ponga, nor for the Titty Fiddler. Martin appeared in a leaked video appearing to (allegedly) touch a woman’s breast from behind during a social gathering at an entertainment venue. The video was apparently taken in 2015, but released the day before Richmond’s crucial finals game against Brisbane, prompting concern for Martin and the Tigers heading into the game, but not for the woman who was (allegedly) touched without consent. As we learned in previous seasons, Martin is not the only Richmond player who likes to fondle other people’s private parts.

George Burgess of the St George Illawarra Dragons was also in trouble for (allegedly) touching a woman without consent, but is waiting for the outcome of his court case.

Martin was allowed to play in the final, despite the video, as was Taylan May, who was caught on CCTV assaulting a man at a bar in Brisbane in 2021, but cleared to play for Penrith in the crucial NRL final against arch rivals Parramatta, and allowed to delay his two-match suspension until 2023.

Frownlow favourite Jordan de Goey made his annual bid for glory. The Collingwood star was nominated in 2017, 2018 and 2020, and 3 times in 2021. He has also earned two nominations in 2022. He appears in a lewd video in which someone tries to expose a woman’s breasts in a bar in Bali, then blames the media for mistreating him and resorts to the hashtag ‘Enough is Enough’ to avoid punishment. The hashtag is used to support victims of mass shootings in the USA. He then blamed mental health issues and ADHD for his behaviour.

Bailey Smith also cited mental health issues to justify his latest indiscretion. The Golden Mullet was punished for appearing in a social media post holding a bag of white powder, and is no stranger to Frownlow judges or the darker corners of social media.

The AFL an NRL stars listed above have all put their hand up and done the hard yards to win the Frownlow this year, but none of them are favourite. The favourite helped earn nominations for Manly trio Josh Schuster, Josh Aloiai and Haumole Olakau’atu, who used a televised NRL game to show support for their friend Manase Fainu.

Fainu is the favourite (at the time of writing) after he was recently found guilty of stabbing a man outside a Mormon Church dance in Sydney in 2019. He will never play NRL again and might have to accept the medal from behind bars, where he will have plenty of time to pray.

Fainu should feel confident about winning the biggest prize in Australian sport, but should not start celebrating. A week is a long time in football, so four months is plenty of time to make a run for The Fronwlow Medal. What’s more, we haven’t heard any reports of scandalous behaviour from AFL and NRL Mad Monday celebrations…yet.

Image: Getty Images

Dustin Martin has great touch.

Dustin Martin is regarded as one of the best AFL players of his generation, due largely to his great hands. He demonstrated his golden touch recently in a leaked video which has earned him yet another nomination for The Fronwlow 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 NRL star Jarryd Hayne is the most recent recipient.

Martin appears in a leaked video reaching around from behind a woman and grabbing her breast as she sits on the lap of another man, before he is seen walking away laughing. Sources believe the video was taken as far back as 2015, but only surfaced in the last week or so.

The Richmond superstar is supposed to play in the all important elimination final against Brisbane in a matter of hours.

Dusty’s golden touch has landed him in trouble in the past.

He was suspended for 2 weeks in 2012 for missing a training session. In 2013, he was caught running a red light, and a year later was fined after driving suspended. His greatest off-field achievement came in 2015, when he used his delicate hands to hold chopsticks and threatened to drive them into a woman’s eye at a Japanese restaurant.

Will Dusty play against the Lions tonight?

Will he be punished for this incident, or will he prove yet again that if you’re good enough, you get away with anything?

Image: Getty Images

Michael Gardiner emerges from the underworld.

Former AFL player Michael Gardiner has surfaced from the underworld in order to accept his nomination for The Fronwlow Medal Hall of Fame. Gardiner has been nominated for numerous incidents, including involvement with a group of alleged underworld figures from Perth.

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 Jarryd Hayne 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.

Gardiner was criticised in 2005 for an association with a group of alleged underworld figures in Perth, alongside the human disaster and fellow West Coast player Cousins. The teammates allegedly received phone calls from gangland figures before and after a stabbing at a Perth nightclub, and refused to cooperate with police during the investigation.

The Eagles told Gardiner and Cousins they were on their last warning, but as The Fronwlow Medal has proven, a last warning in professional football is rarely a last warning. The pair were warned that their off-field behaviour would not be tolerated, but Gardiner stayed at the Eagles in 2006, when he was dropped to club football for his involvement in a booze bus incident alongside…Cousins.

Not sacked, just dropped.

Later in 2006, Gardiner had his contract suspended indefinitely, but not terminated, after a drunken traffic accident which earned him only a $5000 fine and a warning from club bosses that they were highly unlikely to renew his contract at the end of the year.

Gardiner was also praised as a mentor to Dustin Martin, who has received numerous Fronwlow nominations, one of which involved trying to stab a woman in the eye with chopsticks. Martin once called Gardiner a ‘Great Man’.

After accepting the nomination, Gardiner returned to the underworld alongside Cousins.

Image: NuNa

Why Buddy and Dusty met with Eddie Hayson.

AFL players Dustin Martin and Lance Buddy Franklin have revealed that they met with notorious Sydney identity Eddie Hayson because they were desperate to earn nominations for The Frownlow Medal.

The sporting champions were spotted at a restaurant with the infamous Hayson and the media went into a frenzy attempting to explain the meeting. The players finally revealed that they were making a last ditch effort to secure nominations for the most prestigious prize in Australian sport.

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 player Ben Barba 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 AFL legends were seen with the notorious gambling figure and former brothel owner who has been the subject of police inquiries in the past and was suspected of using inside information provided by NRL players to gamble on matches.

Franklin and Martin have both been nominated for Frownlow honours in the past, and were keen to remind the rookies that they’re still a threat on and off the feild.

Franklin actually achieves the rare honour of being nominated for The Frownlow Medal and The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame, in the same year. He earned his hall of fame nomination for reportedly verbally abusing and physically intimidating a woman at a bar in Melbourne and for defending his actions on Twitter. He then got drunk and embarrassed himself at the F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne in 2013, and crashed into a row of parked cars in the exclusive Sydney suburb of Rose Bay in 2014.

Dusty, meanwhile, has an even more colourful record. The Richmond legend was nominated for The Frownlow Medal in 2016 for threatening to stab a woman in the eye with chopsticks, making a handcuff gesture to fans, giving the two finger salute to fans, missing training after mixing prescription drugs with alcohol, and for driving while suspended.

The Frownlow Medal would cap off a great season for Martin, who won the premiership with Richmond and the Norm Smith medal, and it would redeem a disappointing year for Franklin who struggled with injury and watched his Sydney Swans finish near the bottom of the ladder.

The sporting heroes will find out in a matter of weeks if they’ve done enough to win the greatest prize in Australian sport. They’ve been assured they can invite Hayson to the award’s night, because attendees will be in need of some company.

Image: NuNa