Rugby League fans are being urged to share a beer with Queensland footy hero Jason Smith in order to celebrate his nomination for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame for offences related to the abuse of drugs and alcohol.
Smith confessed to years of drug and alcohol abuse and was charged with drug possession offences after ending his football career, during which he represented Australia.
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 AFL player Elijah Taylor 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.
Encouraging people to have a drink with a recovering alcoholic may seem a little odd, but this is the exact advice given to the people of Toowoomba and Queensland by lawyer Chris Hannay, who represented Smith during his court hearings for possession of cocaine, and who believed it would help the State of Origin hero to get his life back on track.
During the court proceedings and afterwards, Smith confessed to years of alcohol and drug abuse and claims he considered suicide. He was also implicated in the drug supply ring which earned prison sentences for two other former NRL players and Frownlow nominees, Matt Seers and John Touma.
Fans of Smith can enjoy a few quiet ones while they wait to find out if their hero has done enough to be inducted into The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.