Young NRL star Reece Walsh could add The Frownlow Medal to his rookie award this year after he was arrested for cocaine possession late one night at Surfer’s Paradise.
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 AFL player Elijah Taylor is the most recent recipient.
Moments after winning the RLPA Rookie of the Year award, Walsh was arrested at the popular nightclub strip for disobeying a move-on order, and recently confessed to being in possession of cocaine at the time.
The freakishly-talented player was the hot favourite to also win the Dally M Rookie of the Year award, but was ruled out. Not because of the recent drug bust, but because he was suspended for on-field indiscretions twice in the season.
Reece took the NRL by storm this year and at just 18 was selected for Queensland in State of Origin, but missed the game through injury. He impressed so many people when he switched to the Warriors mid-season that Kiwi legend Roger Tuivasa-Sheck moved to the wing to allow Walsh to play fullback.
He has now moved himself firmly into the senior ranks by getting nominated for the most prestigious award in Australian sport, The Frownlow Medal. He also repeated the ultimate footballer’s cliche when he said in media interviews earlier this year that he will “look to personally set a positive example for the next generation” and that he wants to make his baby daughter proud of him.