Former AFL player David Dench has been nominated for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame after serving time in prison for defrauding a university. Dench spent four months in jail in 2008 as punishment for his role in a scheme to defraud Victoria University out of millions of dollars.
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 ex 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 former North Melbourne fullback and captain was charged specifically with nine counts of obtaining property by deception and aiding and abetting the receipt of a secret commission.
Dench entered the AFL Hall of Fame in 2008 and was voted North Melbourne best and fairest on four occasions. This makes him the only member of the AFL Hall of Fame to have served time behind bars, but not the first Hall of Famer to be nominated for Frownlow Medal honours. In this elite club, he joins Gary Ablett Sr., Jason Akermanis, Glenn Archer, Wayne Carey, Robert DiPierdomenico and James Hird.
Judges of The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame have reminded Mr. Dench that any attempt to defraud Australia’s most prestigious inter-code award will destroy his chances of induction and deny him the chance of sitting beside some of Australia’s greatest footballers.