Four footballers named Craig have been inducted into The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame in 2017.
Craigs Field, Gower, Izzard and Wells will all grace the hallowed halls alongside Lou Zivanovic, Ahmad Elrich, Matthew Lodge and Gary Ablett Sr.
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. Kiwi international and Sydney Roosters player Shaun Kenny-Dowall won the inaugural medal in 2015, while Corey Norman from the Parramatta Eels won in 2016.
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.
Gower leads the NRL Craigs.
The Panthers great streaked nude through a charity golf event in 2005, vomited on a young Mitchell Pearce and groped Mitchell’s sister. He was also so drunk that he stole and crashed a golf cart, held a butter knife to a guest’s throat, threw cutlery and was thrown out – all in the name of charity.
Gower was also once fined $3000 for breaking NSW team curfew and was dropped from the Kangaroos after pleading guilty to indecent exposure while intoxicated at a pub in Sydney.
He was slapped with another fine, of $100,000 by the NRL, and, in response, attacked the Panthers for not defending his reputation.
Izzard earned his place in the Hall of Fame after he was charged with agreeing to accept bribes in exchange for not investigating unlawful asbestos dumping in his role as investigator with the Western Sydney Regional Illegal Dumping Squad (RIDS). The former representative of the Eels, Panthers, Tigers and Steelers also made a recent cameo appearance on an ABC 4 Corners investigation into Australia’s recycling industry.
Field gleefully accepted his Hall of Fame induction from inside his cell at Cessnock maximum security prison, where he is serving 10 years for manslaughter after assaulting a man in Kingscliff, NSW, in 2012.
The Souths, Manly and Wests Tigers halfback was also fined for missing training during his career and was once suspended by the NRL for testing positive to stimulants.
Field was said to be upset that he could not attend the induction ceremony in person, but is confident he will share a cell with another Frownlow nominee in the near future.
The fourth Craig is former Rugby Union player, Wells.
The ex-Waratah and Brumbies centre was inducted after being found guilty of raping a 14-year-old girl whom he had supplied with alcohol and drugs.
Two more former NRL players will have their plaques hung on the walls of The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.
Lodge grabbed and threatened to kill a young woman before forcing his way into her apartment building in New York, USA in 2015. He then assaulted a man who tried to defend the young woman and forced his way into the man’s apartment, which he proceeded to smash up. The ex-Tiger then tried to violently force his way into the locked bathroom of the man’s apartment, where the man’s wife and young child were hiding. As a result, he was arrested at gun point by NYPD and thrown into a cell at Rikers Island jail. He is apparently seeking a licence to return to the NRL.
Another former Penrith player, and team mate of Izzard, Zivanovic, was inducted after he used money and bullying to try to silence Bryce Cartwright‘s ex-girlfriend and to force her to abort Cartwright‘s child. He was also involved in a very public facebook battle with his estranged ex-wife in 2014.
Elrich is the first Football player to be inducted into The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame. The ex-Socceroo was found to be in possession of drugs and guns after being pulled over for a faulty tail-light on his motorbike in 2011 and consequently served a prison sentence in New South Wales.
God completes the list of inductees in 2017.
Gary Ablett Sr. is still called God by many Geelong fans and is regarded as one of the greatest AFL players of all time.
In 2000, he shared illicit drugs with a woman in a hotel room and initially refused to answer police questions when the woman’s death was investigated. He was also charged with drug use and possession, he lost his first AFL contract at Hawthorn due to poor discipline, he admitted to alcohol abuse and he also pleaded guilty to assaulting a man he saw sitting in a car with his ex-wife.
The Cats superstar was also being chased by the ATO in 2016, for alleged unpaid taxes totalling about $180,000 and was reportedly involved in a public fight with disgraced player agent Ricky Nixon.
The inductees enjoyed a pleasant evening at the awards ceremony and were all tucked up in bed before midnight.