Former NRL player James Maloney is the latest professional footballer to be nominated for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame due to the use of illicit drugs.
Maloney tested positive to cocaine in February while playing in the French Elite One championship and has been stood down by his club Lezignan. He has been suspended pending a decision from the country’s anti-doping agency.
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 NRL star Jarryd Hayne 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 35-year-old could have essentially ended his career with the positive test. It would be a sad way to finish a career which included NRL premierships with the Roosters and Sharks, a grand final with the Warriors and State of Origin victories for NSW in 2018 and 2019. He also played three tests for Australia.
Maloney now awaits the decision of the French authorities, and the decision of Frownlow judges, to learn if he has done enough to be inducted into The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.