Ben Barba wins The Frownlow Medal for 2019.

Former NRL player Ben Barba has won The Frownlow Medal for 2019 after being kicked out of the NRL for the second time in his career.

The 2012 Dally M Medallist lost his contract earlier this year after being charged with public nuisance, and was first banished from the NRL for the use of cocaine.

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.

Barba was caught on security cameras during the pre-season in a heated argument with his partner, and the mother of his children, at a venue in Townsville. The North Queensland Cowboys tore up his contract and he was banned indefinitely from the game in Australia. The flying fullback earned his first Frownlow nomination in 2016 when he was caught with cocaine just moments after his heroic role in Cronulla’s first ever premiership win.

Barba beat the strongest field ever in Frownlow history, including fellow Cowboy Scott Bolton. Bolton pleaded guilty to common assault of a woman and served a lengthy suspension from the NRL. This was one of many incidents of violence against women in 2019.

Zane Musgrove was kicked out of the NRL for the second charge of violence against women during his career, while rookie Liam Coleman was charged for the same reason.

Dylan Walker was a strong contender before his partner dropped charges of domestic violence against him, and he was found not guilty, while Jarryd Hayne and Jack De Belin are still involved in legal cases for alleged sexual assault.

Rugby League players clearly dominated the awards yet again this year. In fact, Barba’s victory means that every medallist has played in the NRL, including code-swapper Karmichael Hunt.

Manase Fainu earned his nomination after being charged with stabbing a man outside a church dance. Many parents are now wondering whether it is safer to let their children play Rugby League than go to a church dance. Fainu will also have to wait until 2020 to learn his fate before the justice system.

Australia’s most famous homophobe, former Rugby Union player Israel Folau, created the most controversy this year with his divisive social media posts, but his actions were simply not enough in comparison to accusations of violence against women.

Jaidyn Stephenson flew the flag for the AFL. He had himself banned for 10 games for illegal gambling, but the challenge from Aussie Rules was fairly weak this year.

The A-League is a perennial poor performer in The Frownlow Medal, but bolstered its representation when four young players were simultaneously investigated for…you guessed it…group sex. After all, footballers can hardly be expected to enjoy the company of a woman all by themselves.

A number of Rugby League players were nominated for sex tapes, adding some spice to the competition yet again.

Even the Australian Rugby League captain earned a nomination. Greg Inglis was caught drink driving and was fined and stripped of the honour of captaining his country. He then retired from the sport after an injury-plagued career.

Barba and his fellow nominees will be resting sore heads in 2020, after the famous Frownlow awards night. Meanwhile, we anticipate another year of off-field drama in 2020.

Happy New Year Ben.

Image: NuNa

Jack de Belin vs. Jarryd Hayne. The showdown for The Frownlow Medal.

Jarryd Hayne and Jack de Belin could fight out The Frownlow Medal in 2019 after both being charged with alleged sexual assault.

The two high-profile Rugby League players are currently leading the race for the most prestigious award in Australian sport, ahead of part-time porn stars, nudists, drunks, thugs, drug addicts, bigots, gamblers, drink drivers and taxi slappers.

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.

Standing in the way of Hayne and de Belin winning the award are their lengthy court cases, and a long list of fellow footballers putting their hand up for the prize. The legal proceedings which will determine the players’ innocence or guilt may not be finished by the time The Frownlow Medal is announced later this year, which throws the competition wide open.

Every winner of The Frownlow Medal so far has played Rugby League, and NRL players dominate the nominations again this year.

Scott Bolton and former Cowboys teammate Ben Barba are in contention, while Zane Musgrove and Liam Coleman still have a chance, despite being kicked out of the NRL. Dylan Walker was nominated for allegedly assaulting his partner, but was not found guilty, ruling him out of the race.

NRL players got nude this year, appearing on the front page of newspapers, on social media and all over the internet, in a desperate bid to be noticed. Some played Slap the Taxi and an entire club, the Cronulla Sharks, got themselves banned from a local venue due to the behaviour of some of their players.

AFL player Jaidyn Stephenson poses the biggest threat to NRL dominance, as he has earned the longest suspension from the game, serving 10 games on the sideline after being found guilty of betting on AFL games. AFL colleague Majak Daw provided the most bizarre incident when his body was found beside the Yarra River.

Israel Folau could follow fellow code-hopper Karmichael Hunt and take out The Frownlow Medal, after refusing to remove a homophobic post from social media and losing his contract with Rugby Australia. A host of fellow footballers, including AFL player Gary Ablett Jr. earned Frownlow nominations for ‘liking’ his posts.

The A-League continued its poor showing in The Frownlow Medal, with only Ken Ilso nominated for testing positive to a banned substance.

As the winter codes near the business end of their respective seasons, the race is well and truly on for The Frownlow Medal.

Image: NuNa

Jaidyn Stephenson firms as favourite for The Frownlow Medal.

Punters are placing huge bets on Jaidyn Stephenson to win The Frownlow Medal after the AFL player earned the harshest punishment of any footballer this year.

Stephenson was banned for 10 matches after it was discovered he had bet on AFL games, and he will miss the remainder of the home and away season. The Collingwood player apparently bet on three games in which he was playing, and was also fined $20,000.

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.

Stephenson’s punishment is more severe than any other Frownlow nominee in 2019. The previous favourite, NRL player Scott Bolton, was stood down for only five games after pleading guilty to assaulting a woman in a nightclub, while a host of other players were given shorter bans, or fines, for a vast range of scandals.

Former Cowboys player Ben Barba was banished from the NRL earlier this year, but was never actually found guilty of assaulting his partner, and fellow NRL player Dylan Walker was found not guilty of assaulting his partner.

Of course, Stephenson must still await the outcome of the court cases involving Rugby League players Jarryd Hayne and Jack de Belin, who were charged with allegedly sexually assaulting women. Now that Stephenson has some time on his hands, perhaps he will offer his services to the legal representatives of both of these players to ensure they are found not guilty.

According to news reports, none of the bets that Stephenson placed were successful. Let’s hope he has more luck with The Frownlow Medal.

Image: NuNa