AFL Draft: Fev sideshow further darkens footy’s big anti-climax

By Jason Feldman
Just as Grand Finals are the climax of the footy season, trade week is the true anti-climax. For weeks the tension builds. Player X is being traded to team Y for pick Z and player W. Footy websites crack under the traffic of footy fans eager to scrounge any information on, say, where Brent Staker will play his footy in 2010. Deluded fans call SEN and ask if Jordan McMahon is worth a second-round draft pick. Journos around Australia will nominate up to 60 players who are on the table.
The week finally arrives, and bugger all happens for four days as clubs engage in a Mexican stand-off over the most minor of details. On the Friday at approximately 1.30pm there is a massive flourish and a dozen trades are made, many involving players whose names weren’t tossed about in the yearly bullshit-fest.
It’s sort of like being in Year 11 and you’ve had your eye on this cute girl in your science class. Then finally at school camp it’s just you and her around the campfire. You touch hands, she smiles at you with the reflection of the fire flickering from her beautiful braces, you go in for the kiss and she tells you that she has a crush on your best mate. (Not that I’m bitter or talking from personal experience or anything.)
Anyway this year trade week is going to be different. Clubs fear the impending arrival of the Gold Coast Melanomas and West Sydney Car Jackers will destroy their chances of securing any young footballers until Miley Cyrus defeats Hilary Clinton in the 2016 US Presidential election. And of course we have the drama surrounding the AFL’s resident drunken star Brendan Fevola.
It’s a bizarre world we live in when we expect footballers to uphold higher moral standards than elected politicians. If you read the newspapers you would think that one of these groups has a massive impact on our nation’s health, education and social policy and the other are just politicians. Kevin Rudd gets sloshed and falls asleep after trying to get some cheap touches at a strip club in New York and 12 months later he’s elected Prime Minister. Fevola, meanwhile, is pilloried by the community and is ostracised by his footy club for getting pissed at the Brownlow.
Geez, the bloody event is sponsored by Crown Lager and players sit for three hours listening to Andrew Demetriou drone on for round after round. Fev is being paid by Channel 9 to have a few ales and get nicely lubricated and make a tool of himself for The Footy Show cameras. During the night it was evident to anyone watching the telecast that Fev was having a serious crack at the sauce. Carlton players and his pregnant wife tried to get him to pull his head in. The upshot is that Fevola was smashed by the end of the night. He embarrassed himself, the footy club, the AFL and his family. The Footy Show sacked him and he finished the evening singing “I’ve had the time of my life” to a handful of revellers at the Brownlow after-party.
So Fev was stupid, oafish, disrespectful to his captain, allegedly aggressive and sexist but surely this should not prevent him from lining up in the goalsquare for the Blues next season. Admittedly Fev has form when it comes to drunken escapades. He has tackled barmen in Galway, attacked dry-cleaners in North Melbourne, had illicit liaisons with bikini models and urinated on restaurant windows in Greville Street. The list of priors is a long as his match-winning goal to beat the Crows at Footy Park in 2004.
Carlton has had years to offload Fev and the trouble that comes with him, but they chose to stick with him. The decision to stay with Fev was not driven through any abiding sense of loyalty or serious attempt to rehabilitate the gun forward. The Blues have hung on to Fev because he is a fantastic footballer. Just ask Karl Norman and Laurence Angwin how many chances Carlton gave them for rolling up to a Sunday recovery session in a state that was a little too “ecstatic” for the club’s liking.
What would be most upsetting for Carlton supporters is that Fev is being shown the door just as the  “premiership window” is beginning to creak open. Having made the finals this season, it’s not unreasonable to expect the Blues to push for a top four spot with the return of Waite and Jamison from injury and the continued improvement of the club’s outstanding midfield group.With Fev out of the side a final eight spot would now be a 50/50 proposition and it is too much to expect Matty Kreuzer to be the key man up forward.
Carlton’s handling of “FevolapissedattheBrownlowgate” has been sloppy from day one. One would imagine that, if Dick Pratt were still in the president’s chair, the issue would have knocked on the head the day after the Brownlow, Fevola would have apologised and he’d line up for Carlton next season. Instead the issue was allowed to fester and the pressure became almost too difficult to handle and now the Coleman Medallist is up for trade.
While Carlton will try and lay the blame squarely on Fevola for the current crisis the club should bare most of the responsibility. They must have known that it was dangerous proposition to sign him to such a lucrative long-term contract, but the temptation of seeing Judd slotting balls down Fevola’s throat was too alluring to ignore. It is too late now for the Blues to wash their hands of the monster they have created.
*  The author of this article is a Richmond Supporter who dislikes Carlton and was once caught urinating in a pot plant in a youth hostel in Tel Aviv.

Comments

  1. Who wouldn’t be tempted by the prospect of Judd slotting balls down Fevola’s throat?

    But seriously, poor list management (Fev is on way too much coin IMO) and poor player management from Carlton. Fev’s negative body language and infrequent second efforts on the footy field have been a cancer on Carlton’s football culture for years. But when he’s on …

    I reckon the ‘trade’ is a PR ploy from Carlton. No club will be prepared to pay for him (both in terms of picks/players and coin). Carlton know that. They’ll humour the trade option throughout the week, then claim no-one was willing to pay the right price and hang onto the Fevolution for the remainder of his contract. Whether it sends Fev a message or not is unclear …

  2. John Butler says:

    Gentlemen,

    There is much sense in what you both say, although I doubt Pratty would have had much more luck in the current Fev circumstance; a simple apology would have got laughed out of court.

    This is a mess of our own creation, there is justice if we have to deal with it ourselves.

    RE 2016 election

    You worry me here. If Hilary was to miss out to Miley (or anyone), thing could get really ugly.

  3. i think ive broken my fathers’ heart when i told him:
    “If FEV comes to Collingwood in a trade for Jack Anthony and Nathan Brown, im leaving Collingwood!”

    i think his reaction would have been no worse had i told him that i was running off to Vegas to get married at 17.

  4. I will be shattered to lose the Big Mummy to Sydney and retain Mark Blake for another two years of mediocrity. Shattered.

  5. Peter Flynn says:

    Cookie,
    Mumford was developing nicely wasn’t he?
    I’m not a massive Blake fan although I reckon he was serviceable in this year’s GF.
    Rod Blake was our vet in Geelong.

  6. I am very disappointed – Mumford played 22 games or so, including 18 this year, could tackle, was mobile, was well over 200cm and his level of improvement was exponential. He could have been our Dean Cox. Now we have lumbering Blake who can win a tap at times. Stocks seem bare after him with only Trent West and Simpson. Someone should spell out to Mumford that $300K in Sydney isn’t the same as $300K in Geelong.

  7. Cookie – I don’t believe the deal has been done (yet). Hang in there. Mumford might see the light and stick with the Cats like so many of our other players.

    I’d rather they traded Blake to Sydney. He’d suit Sydney – all show and no go.

  8. I think Costa will be quite persuasive in making him stay. He will be second ruck next year. I’m more than happy for Blake to be moved on. He’s not improving, he’s a grump and he doesn’t seem popular within the group.
    Things must be tight if they can’t offload David Johnson and Kane Tenace and keep Wojo. They’re probably cutting as deep as they can with Ablett and Selwood’s contracts coming up.
    At least there are two premiership cups to take solace in

  9. Another thing for cats fans – I spoke to Scott Gullan who wrote The Mission, the inside story of the 2007 flag. Apart from too many typos, it is a very worthwhile book to get hold of. I saw Scott before this year’s win and he said if they got up he would release a new version covering the past two years. Now that would be worth getting hold of.

  10. Adam Muyt says:

    I’m worried by all this ‘Fev to the Lions’ talk. Hoping it all falls apart in the next two days. A proven dickhead for a proven clubman and an evolving talent. Madness! Someone reassure me it’s all just ‘Trade Week’ waffle…arrrrrggghhhh……….

  11. For once it wasn’t ‘Trade Week’ waffle.

    You can always rely on Crackers Keenan for good TWW during what I call ‘Scanlans Footy Card Week’, and last Friday on 774 good old Peter Patrick Peanut announced in his trademark conspiratorial whisper that BF was headed to Collingwood….no big shock there, at that stage of Trade Week every year every player in the AFL is always going to Collingwood, but what turned this Crackers moment into Art was that Eddie and co would hand over Leon Davis AND Travis Cloke in return.

  12. That Mission part 2 by Scott Gullan will be out for Christmas. I’ve already put my order in with Santa.

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