The hunt for the 2016 Downlow Medal intensified recently with the news that eight Queensland players, including star half Ben Hunt, have been excluded from representative selection for 12 months for breaking curfew at an emerging State of Origin camp.
The conduct of Hunt as well as Valentine Holmes, Cameron Munster, Anthony Milford, Jarrod Wallace, Dylan Napa, Edrick Lee and Chris Grevsmuhl places them in direct contention for the award which celebrates the off field performances of representatives from Australia’s four major football codes, the NRL, AFL, A League and Super Rugby.
“2015 was a great year for QLD Rugby League with the Cowboys and Broncos in a great grand final and the Origin victory…” read a combined statement from all players involved. “…we want Queensland to repeat that feat this year plus win the Downlow Medal.”
The infamous eight face stiff competition from incumbent NSW Origin half Mitchell Pearce, who was recently filmed interacting with a dog, as well as Richmond AFL player Dustin Martin, who was investigated for drunkenly threatening a woman in a Japanese restaurant at the end of 2015.
The question now is whether the ‘quality’ of Martin and Pearce’s antics will surpass the ‘quantity’ of the efforts of their northern rivals and earn one of them the 2016 title which last October went to NRL player Shaun Kenny-Dowall.