Brendan Fevola has finally retired from Aussie Rules, having become a highly unlikely marathon man of the sport with a playing career that stretched on for 34 years after his AFL debut.
The former Carlton and Brisbane forward played his final match for the Diamond Valley Super Rules Football Club in Melbourne’s north-east, winning a grand final to boot.
‘After 37 years of the game I’ve loved so much and has given me so much more. It’s time to say goodbye. What a way to finish with a FLAG. I’m cooked,’ he posted on Instagram.
He had a few handy mates join him, as well.
Collingwood premiership hero Dane Swan, West Coast Eagles, North Melbourne and Richmond forward Aaron Edwards, Kangaroos and Gold Coast midfielder Daniel Harris and Carlton defender Anthony Franchina all played in the win.
Fevola kicked one goal as the over-35s side won 13.7 (85) to 9.6 (60) against Frankston, wearing the No.25 jumper he donned in his 10 years at Carlton.
Fevola smiles with the trophy along with his daughters Leni and Lulu after winning a grand final in his final game of Aussie Rules
Fevola posted this image after the match, signing off on 37 years of playing the sport including 13 years after his AFL retirement in 2010
Fevola had plenty of friends on game day, winning the premiership with former AFL stars Dane Swan (back row, third from right), Aaron Edwards, Daniel Harris and Anthony Franchina
It brings an end to a rollercoaster career for the colourful footy star, who has enjoyed the highs of AFL footy and endured the lows of battling with his weight and a crippling gambling addiction.
But he finished his time on the field on his own terms and was happy to finally call it a day.
‘Thanks Fev. It was great to see you today and throughout the last few years playing AFL Masters National. You are always welcome back as you are a long time retired. We love you being a part of our family. Thanks mate,’ a club member posted.
‘Many many snags,’ replied Geelong premiership winner Jeremy Cameron.
Channel Seven presenter and former Hockeyroos star Georgie Parker also posted a cheeky message to Leon Sjogren, who is the producer of Fevola’s Fox 101.9 radio show Fifi, Fev & Nick.
‘Don’t expect much from the big fella tomorrow,’ she posted.
‘Liar. You’ll be back,’ teased netball turned AFLW star Sharni Layton.
‘Fev’ also copped plenty of stick for playing his final game in black-and-white – the colours of Carlton’s eternal enemy Collingwood.
Fevola had a chequered AFL career, debuting in 1999 for Carlton and playing 204 first-grade matches, kicking 623 goals.
While he dominated in reserve grade in 1999 – kicking 42 goals – before making his AFL debut in the No.25 guernsey made famous by Carlton legend Alex Jesaulenko, Fevola struggled to translate that form to the top grade.
A fresh-faced Fevola smiles for his team portrait ahead of the 2001 season with Carlton
Fevola had hoped to revive his career in Brisbane but only played 17 games for the Lions as he wrestled with personal issues
Fevola with the Michael Tuck medal for best on ground after the Blues defeated the Eagles during the AFL Wizard Cup grand final in 2005
A string of poor matches, poor body language on the field and a number of off-field incidents had Carlton had senior coach Wayne Brittain ready to trade or delist Fevola at the end of the 2002 season.
It was lucky for the Blues he didn’t, as Fevola suddenly found a rich vein of form that led to him becoming a seven-time leading goalkicker for the club from 2003-09, a two-time Coleman Medal winner in 2006 and 2009 and a three-time All Australian.
Off-field issues continued to plague the key forward, though, culminating in him infamously selling his second Coleman Medal to fund his gambling addiction.
It led Carlton to make the shock call to trade him to the Brisbane Lions in 2009.
Fevola would only play 17 matches for his new team in 2010, spending time in a Brisbane mental health clinic and struggling to address his demons.
Spat out of the AFL system at the end of the 2010 season, Fevola would continue playing until 2023 in lower divisions around the country, culminating with his big grand win to wrap up his long career.