Payne Haas and Albert Kelly are the latest Brisbane Broncos to have a public lovers tiff and earn themselves nominations for The Fronwlow Medal.
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.
Haas and Kelly were caught on camera in a drunken brawl at a team hotel recently, and a video of the expletive-laden fight was circulated on social media, prompting a police investigation.
The video appears to show Haas calling Kelly a f***ing c***, while also holding his hand to his throat and delivering a punch to Kelly’s head which would earn him an automatic red card during a game. He then shoves the playmaker in the face in such a way that Kelly would definitely be sent for a HIA.
The passionate bromance brings back memories of Corey Oates and Justin Hodges, who earned Fronwlow nominations in 2017 for a drunken fight while at the Broncos.
Haas and Kelly have both been nominated for Frownlow honours before, increasing their chances of winning the medal this year.
Haas was suspended for four games in 2019 for failing to co-operate with a NRL Integrity Unit investigation, and was banned for three games in 2021 for an altercation with police in Tweed Heads.
Kelly, meanwhile, was nominated for The Fronwlow Medal Hall of Fame in 2016. He was involved in the Cronulla Sharks supplements saga in 2011, and suspended by the Newcastle Knights in 2012 for an incident at a nightclub. He spent a few years playing in England and is trying to revive his NRL career.
Oates and Hodges later kissed and made up. Broncos fans will be hoping their star prop and their half can do the same.