South Sydney’s super-rich owners have been urged to get down to business and support club legend Mario Fenech as his devastating battle with early-onset dementia comes to light.
Fenech’s health is rapidly deteriorating after the fatal condition left him almost memoryless and will soon require full-time care.
‘The Maltese Falcon’ made 274 NRL appearances, including 181 in the Cardinal and Myrtle – and the club’s revered figure can still be seen in Southern training, such is the esteem in which he is held.
As medical bills pile up – and are set to rise steadily as Fenech’s health worsens – Megabucks Souths owners Russell Crowe, Mike Cannon-Brookes and James Packer are being called upon to step in and help.
The influential trio is worth more than an estimated $28 billion; with software mogul Cannon-Brookes ($22.5 billion), businessman Packer ($5.3 billion), and movie star Russell Crowe ($179 million), all of whom have significant estimated individual net worths.
Fenech’s wife Rebecca now has to go back to work to make ends meet – and worries deeply about how the family will survive on just one salary.
She also revealed insurance companies are no longer helping to pay for her husband’s care.
She also said she discovered that Fenech, in his dementia-related confusion, forgot to pay health and life insurance bills.
“He stopped paying the bills because he couldn’t remember,” Rebecca told Channel 7.
“I just found them all in a drawer. Six months’ worth of bills that were never paid.’
Devastatingly, Fenech couldn’t even remember his own son’s marriage — to a prominent neurologist, Dr. Rowena Mobbs, who said his brain was like that of an 80-year-old.
It’s the perfect opportunity for the financially stable trio of Packer, Cannon-Brookes and Crowe to get on board.
Given the way Fenech literally threw himself into everything he did on a football pitch, he is one of the main pillars of the proud Redfern club. It makes perfect sense to return the favor.
Despite his failing health, Fenech continues to bounce around during Rabbitoh’s training sessions quite frequently.
With the man he once was slowly disappearing, it would no doubt be a popular move for the club to financially support one of their favorite sons after giving to the game.
Unfortunately, Rebecca claimed that not everyone in the football world has always been fully supportive of Fenech.
The ‘Falcon’ was treated as a comedic figure and an object of ridicule by The Footy Show hosts, and she said her husband often came home ‘upset’ at the way he was being treated.
‘She [The Footy Show] upset him where he really is a very intelligent man – but that’s how it went,” she said.
“He wasn’t a boy because he didn’t act, he didn’t go for a beer after the show. I suppose it isolated him a bit from those people.’
In a famous clip from the hit show, Fenech said, “I’m just a circus animal on this show.”
Rebecca said Fenech is just keeping up with some of the many presenters he’s worked with on the show.
‘He’s talking to Fatty [Paul Vautin] very occasionally or after sterlo [Peter Sterling]sometimes blockers [Steve Roach]”That’s three he talks to maybe once or twice a year,” she said.
“But no, we don’t hear from anyone.”