The cash-strapped kings behind South Sydney are discussing plans for a testimonial dinner – supporting club legend Mario Fenech in light of his family’s sad health revelations.
Add up the entire wealth of owners Mike Cannon-Brookes, James Packer and Russell Crowe and you get $28 billion.
Rabbitohs co-owner Russel Crowe (R) and former Rabbitohs player Mario Fenech (L) celebrate a Rabbitohs try in round eight in 2008
Last week the owners held a meeting about the unfortunate circumstances of the 182 game Rabbitohs.
Now film star and Souths mogul Russel Crowe has approached chief executive Blake Solly and chairman Nick Pappas to arrange a testimonial dinner for the kind man.
The club’s managing director is determined to get Fenech’s family into a desired financial position.
“We sit down with Rebecca (Mario’s wife) in the off-season to discuss how she feels the club can help,” Solly said.
A regular visitor to training and matches, Mario is a much-loved member of the Rabbitohs family. He was also a long-term and valued employee of Channel 9 and the NRL after his playing career ended.
We will work with the NRL, Men of League and Channel 9 on everything we do for Mario and Rebecca, both now and in the future.’
Fenech poses on the sidelines with South Sydney mascot Reggie the Rabbit – Fenech played 182 games with the Redfern club
The 60-year-old has revealed that he is struggling with early onset dementia when he was diagnosed at 53.
Fenech played the bulk of his career in the hard-hitting 80s and suffered many blows to the head, which has been attributed to his chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Doctors say Fenech has the brain and memory of an ’80-year-old patient’, struggling to remember his playing days and times at Souths.
Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou talks to club legend Mario Fenech during a Souths training session at Redfern Oval in September
Solly will also discuss Fenech’s situation with the Rabbitohs’ former players’ union, Men of League, Channel 9 and the NRL.
Game greats Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston were awarded testimonial dinners at the end of their careers, but an evening for Fenech will help his family support his condition financially.
‘The Maltese Falcon’ was also a keen boxer and shared his surname with friend and legend of the ring, Jeff Fenech.
Fenech was a formidable ruckman and striker who took many blows to the head – attributed to his early onset dementia
Fenech’s surname can also be translated as Rabbit in English, the very club where he made his debut as a 19-year-old.
He was awarded life membership of South Sydney in 1997, having been one of the club’s most successful captains and memorable personalities.
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