Olyroos captain Riley McGree and three other national football representatives have earned a nomination for The Frownlow Medal after being suspended from international matches following an incident in Cambodia.
McGree joins Nathaniel Atkinson, Lachlan Wales and Brandon Wilson in earning a nomination for the prestigious award, and have virtually doubled the number of A-League players to have been nominated for the award since its inception in 2015.
McGree, Atkinson, Wales and Wilson were in Cambodia representing the Olyroos in the AFC U23 championship qualifying tournament. During a night out, they broke curfew and it has been reported that a woman was invited back to the hotel where all four players had consensual sex with her. Apparently the woman complained about what happened on the night.
This kind of ‘unprofessional conduct’ has earned many players Frownlow nominations in the past, and would place the quartet in a good position to take out the prize. However, it is believed the woman withdrew her complaint, and this will severely hamper the footballers’ chances of winning.
Despite the withdrawal, the FFA continued to investigate and handed down the international bans, which will see McGree miss international games until April 1 2020, and the other three until August 10, so they will miss Tokyo 2020 if Australia qualifies.
The nominations come just moments before the winner of The Frownlow Medal is announced for 2019, and are the only real challenge mounted by a ‘Soccer’ player in the history of the award. That said, have they done enough to break the NRL stranglehold on the most prestigious award in Australian sport?