Paul’s Party shakes up The Frownlow Medal.

Paul Vaughan’s house party has created 11 new nominees for The Frownlow Medal in 2021. Vaughan’s Dragons teammates have been nominated after they breached NRL COVID protocols and could face huge fines and severe punishment.

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.

Matt Dufty, Zac Lomax, Kaide Ellis, Blake Lawrie, Daniel Alvaro, Gerard Beale, Josh Maguire and Josh Kerr earn their first nominations, while Frownlow judges are already familiar with Jack Bird, Tyrell Fuimaono and Corey Norman. All of the players attended a party at Vaughan’s house in Shellharbour, NSW, after St George Illawarra narrowly beat the Warriors. Players are not supposed to have guests at their house, in line with Greater Sydney COVID restrictions, and the players breached restrictions imposed by the government and the NRL itself. The players were caught out when neighbour’s called police with a noise complaint.

Media reports have also revealed that seven of the players fled down the street when the police arrived to investigate. The impromptu sprint session has earned more condemnation from fans and commentators.

All of the players have reportedly been issued with a standard $1000 fine, but the NRL is considering its own punishment for an act that could cost the players substantial fines, isolation, suspensions, time away from training and possibly competition points for the Dragons, who currently sit at 7th on the ladder.

Norman is the 2016 Frownlow medallist and is a serial nominee. He earned nominations in 2016, 2018, 2019 and earlier in 2021, when he got involved in a street fight outside Northies in Cronulla. Norman runs a clothing brand with fellow nominee James Segeyaro. It is called You Know the Rules. It seems he doesn’t.

Meanwhile, Vaughan was also nominated in 2020, for a COVID breach.

The coming days will reveal the extent of the punishment for the Dragons players and the club. At least the 12 partygoers have had a good warm up for the awards night for The Frownlow Medal and The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame to be held later this year.

Image: NuNa