Rabbitohs owners Russell Crowe, Mike Cannon-Brookes, James Packer should support Mario Fenech
The super-rich owners of South Sydney have been urged to swoop in and support club legend Mario Fenech as his devastating battle with dementia comes to light early on.
Fenech’s health is rapidly deteriorating after the fatal condition has left him with almost no memory and will soon need full-time care.
‘The Maltese Falcon’ played 274 NRL games, 181 of which were in cardinal and myrtle – and the revered club figure can still be seen at Souths training, such is the esteem in which he is held.
So with medical bills piling up – and set to rise steadily as Fenech’s health deteriorates – there are calls for megabucks Souths owners Russell Crowe, Mike Cannon-Brookes and James Packer to step in and help.
Mario Fenech is pictured with his family – son Joe, wife Rebecca and daughter Bonnie
Mario Fenech played 274 NRL games, 181 of which were in the iconic Cardinal and Myrtle of South Sydney
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 having significant estimated individual net worths.
Fenech’s wife Rebecca has now been forced to return to work to make ends meet – and is very worried about how the family will survive on just one salary.
She also revealed that insurance companies no longer help pay for her husband’s care.
Rabbitohs owners James Packer and Russell Crowe are called to the aid of one of the club’s favorite sons, Mario Fenech, in his hour of need
Mike Cannon-Brookes (centre, in shirt) and his software billions could be crucial in helping Fenech, who will soon need round-the-clock care
She also said she discovered that in his dementia-induced confusion, Fenech had forgotten to pay health and life insurance bills.
“He stopped paying the bills because he couldn’t remember,” Rebecca said Channel 7.
‘I just found them all in a drawer. Six months of bills that were never paid.’
Devastatingly, Fenech couldn’t even remember his own son’s wedding – to a prominent neurologist, Dr. Rowena Mobbs, who said his brain is like that of an 80-year-old.
It’s the perfect chance for the financially stable trio of Packer, Cannon-Brookes and Crowe to step up.
Given the way Fenech literally threw himself into everything he did on a football pitch and is one of the main planks of the proud Redfern based club; it makes good sense to return the favor.
Despite his poor health, Fenech continues to bounce around to Rabbitohs training sessions quite often.
As the man he once was slowly fades away, there is no doubt that it would be a popular move by the club to support one of their favorite sons financially after what he has given to the game.
Unfortunately, Rebecca claimed that not everyone in the football world has always been completely supportive of Fenech.
Mario Fenech (left) and Russell Crowe (right) enjoy watching a Rabbitohs game together in 2008
‘Falcon’ was treated by The Footy Show presenters as a comic figure and an object of ridicule and she said her husband would often come home ‘horrified’ at the way he was treated.
‘The [The Footy Show] took the mickey out of him where he’s actually a very intelligent man – but that’s the way it played out,” she said.
‘He wasn’t a boy’s boy because he didn’t play, he didn’t have a beer after the show. So I suppose that kind of isolated him from those people.’
In a famous clip from the hit show, Fenech said: ‘I’m just a circus animal on this show.’
Fenech’s wife Rebecca revealed her husband resented the constant ribbing he received on The Footy Show
Rebecca said Fenech only keeps up with a few of the many presenters he worked with on the show.
‘He’s talking to Fatty [Paul Vautin] very occasionally or to Sterlo [Peter Sterling]sometimes Blocker [Steve Roach]they’re three he talks to maybe once or twice a year,’ she said.
‘But no, we don’t hear from anyone.’