AFL great Brendan Fevola has ended an eight-year mystery about how his 2009 Coleman Medal appeared for sale on eBay.
Police investigated the possible theft of Fevola’s coveted award for leading the league’s goalkicking with 89 majors — and his trophies for making the 2008 and 2009 All-Australian teams — when they appeared on the online auction website in April, 2012.
The Coleman Medal was listed by user 2012Hodgepodge and described as “the real deal”. Bids quickly jumped from $600 to more than $13,000, while the former Carlton and Brisbane full forward’s All-Australian Trophies fetched offers of more than $700.
Despite having admitted to serious gambling problems a year earlier, Fevola denied being the seller of the items in a statement to the Herald Sun at the time.
But this week he told listeners on FOX FM’s Fifi, Fev and Nick show he sold the medal to fund a gambling addiction, before it was offered for resale on eBay.
“I sold my Coleman, that was mine,” he told the show. “I did that.”
“Mate, I wanted to punt so I sold it for cash,” he added. “Bought it back though.”
Brendan Fevola kicked four more goals than Jonathan Brown to win the 2009 Coleman Medal. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)Source:Supplied
A Herald Sun story about Fevola’s Coleman Medal being listed for sale on ebay in 2012. The story appeared in the Herald Sun on April 5, 2012. Picture: Supplied.Source:Supplied
The listing for Brendan Fevola’s Coleman Medal on eBay.Source:News Limited
Fevola, 40, was plagued by off-field embarrassments and relationship woes after he rose to fame as a gun spearhead.
He was traded by Carlton at the end of 2009 following numerous indiscretions away from the field, culminating in his drunken performance at that year’s Brownlow Medal ceremony.
He lasted just one season at Brisbane before the Lions sacked him following another year of drama that included a nude photo controversy involving Lara Bingle and an arrest.
Fevola’s gambling addiction has also been well publicised. Despite earning a swag of money in his playing days through lucrative contracts and endorsement deals, he filed for bankruptcy in 2013. He also lost more than $300,000 during a three-day binge on the horses.
Speaking on the previous iteration of his radio show in 2017, the footy superstar opened up on just what it’s like living with a gambling addiction, starting by describing the time he squandered a massive win in just a few days.
“I was in Queensland and it was a Wednesday afternoon and I had a bookie so I had $2000 credit in my account and I was having a really good day,” Fevola said. “By 3am the next morning I was betting at Hong Kong, not knowing anything about the horses, just having a little bit of fun.
Brendan Fevola pictured last week.Source:Matrix
Brendan Fevola and wife Alex at the 2006 Brownlow.Source:News Corp Australia
“I ended that morning $363,000 in front, told (his wife) Alex. She said, ‘This is amazing, can you get it out?’
“So I rang the bookie the next day to try and get it out but when you’ve got a bookie you can’t get it out until the Monday. So Sunday night I was 20 (thousand) down. So I lost $360,000 in three days. That’s my biggest loss.”
Fevola said the “worst thing” about his addiction was losing didn’t really affect him, but he understands now just how damaging his behaviour was for his family. He and Alex are now back together, but the 36-year-old says losing his family’s savings, not just his own winnings, was what hurt his wife the most and forced her to leave him.
“I did (lose a lot of our savings) and hence why Alex left the first time when we were in Brisbane. She went back because of the gambling. Now she looks after a lot of the accounts which is good,” Fevola said.
“I said to myself then I didn’t lose that ($300,000) because I’d already won it, so it’s so weird. But you did, you lost it.
“The worst thing is it didn’t actually affect me too much but if affects your family and that’s the bottom line, Alex and the kids.
Brendan and Alex Fevola with their four daughters, Leni, Lulu, Mia and Tobi last year. Picture: Nicole ClearySource:News Corp Australia
“It’s an addictive thing, it’s a really bad addiction to have and it obviously cripples a lot of people’s lives.”
Fevola would bet through accounts rather than deal with cash, which he says made it difficult to accept his losses were real.
“When it’s in your account you don’t actually have the money in your hand so you’re just ringing up and saying numbers. You don’t even realise and then when it’s all gone you’re like, ‘Geez,’” Fevola said.
“You don’t think you have a problem when you’re doing it because you’re caught up in that bubble but now you think, ‘Aww geez what an absolute idiot’ because it’s just for a cheap thrill.”
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