It’s not good news for Sydney’s marquee player.
There’s something a bit anti-climactic and uninspiring about this year’s AFL Draft due to happen on Thursday in western Sydney. The fact newboys GWS have 11 of the first 14 picks, multiplied by the lack of well-known delisted talent in the draft makes it a bit of a non-event.
But, of course, then there’s former Coleman Medallist Brendan Fevola, who is praying for a third chance with an AFL club.
Third chances don’t happen very often in AFL footy. They might do overseas or in the NRL (see Todd Carney), but there’s few examples in Aussie Rules footy at the top level.
Fevola, who will be 31 by the time the new season begins, appears unlikely to get another crack at AFL footy. There has been no public interest in the ex-Carlton and Brisbane Lions spearhead.
Given his age, Fevola might’ve hoped a premiership contender could be willing to give him a shot, ala Barry Hall at the Western Bulldogs, but recently both 2011 top four sides Hawthorn and Collingwood made it clear he’s not in their sights.
After speculation linking Fevola with the 2010 premiers last week, Pies chief executive Gary Pert came out and said: “Collingwood has very clear and specific needs as we continue to rebuild our list, and during those list management decisions I can honestly say Brendan’s name has never come up. We wish him well, but I can honestly say his name hasn’t been mentioned.”
Arguably, more pertinently, Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said this week: “It’s not for me the off-field stuff. We’ve got our own challenges in terms of Buddy (Lance Franklin) and being a pivotal forward for us.
“I think the days of just one key forward and that guy being your focal point … makes it very difficult to recruit that type of player and Fev’s that type of player.”
Indeed, that factor of the modern-day evolution of footy alone, could be the decisive factor in Fevola’s future.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick admitted at the start of last season, he wanted a more even contribution in the forward line, with less reliance on Coleman Medallist Jack Riewoldt. It seemed a bit odd at the time, but it makes a lot of sense.
Clubs with a main man up forward have become too predictable, with opposition teams able to counter that in the way they set up their defence.
If a side has several options up forward who can all score goals, it’s much harder to stop.
Then again, as former North Melbourne star Wayne Carey, who got his own second chance at Adelaide after his fallout at the Kangaroos, said Fevola would be available on the cheap and subsequently could be worth a punt.
“I don’t think there is too much risk in terms of (giving him) bargain basement payments, and he is quite possibly a 60-70 plus goal kicker,” Carey said. “I think he has been fantastic in the last 12 months, he has put the hard work in and it’d be worth the risk.”
After all, Fevola kicked 69 goals in 17 games for Casey Scorpions in the VFL in 2010, which shows he’s still capable. But is he still capable of dealing with the demands of AFL footy.
Arguably that’s the risk and for modern-day AFL clubs stressing the importance of ‘professional culture’ more than ever, maybe he’d do more harm than good.
There’s still many in the footy community who aren’t sold on his reform programme either, particularly following his gambling episode at the Crown earlier in the year and subsequent explanation.
You fancy Fevola might miss out on Thursday, but there’s always the pre-season draft to keep the saga rolling on.