TWO-TIME Coleman medallist and former AFL superstar Brendan Fevola will pull on the red, white and black of Edenhope-Apsley in a one-off game next year.
Fevola has agreed to play for the Saints in their Horsham District Football League round one match against Noradjuha-Quantong at Edenhope.
He will receive a clearance from Ovens and Murray Football League club Yarrawonga to play the match.
The district league fixture has the match scheduled for March 29, meaning it would clash with Horsham Cricket Association’s senior grand finals.
The league’s earlier start than most other football leagues in country Victoria means Fevola can play the match without missing a game for Yarrawonga.
Edenhope-Apsley president Wayne Caldow said the club reached out to Fevola through a contact at Yarrawonga and began working on a proposal to get him in Saints colours three months ago.
He said Fevola’s one-off game would be a coup for Edenhope-Apsley and the rest of the league.
“I think having a player like Fev really puts our league on the map,” he said.
“Since he’s been out of the AFL, he’s been highly-respected in this role of mixing with the people and the children and the
community that he comes down to.
“He’s a very open, positive person with people around him and he enjoys this sort of opportunity.”
Caldow said Fevola’s appearance fee – an undisclosed sum of money in the thousands of dollars – had been donated by a club supporter who wished to remain anonymous.
He said the club expected a massive crowd for the game with no competition from other football leagues in the area.
Caldow said the club wanted to have something similar to a race-day marquee, allowing supporters to pay a premium for special service.
District league chairman Graeme King said Fevola would likely be the highest-profile footballer ever to grace the league.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had anyone near that stature – a two-time Coleman medallist – to be honest,” he said.
“It’s a great way to start our season off with a bloke like that because whether he kicks one goal or 15 goals, people will still come out to see him. For regional footy, it’s huge to get a drawcard like that.”
Edenhope-Apsley coach Grant Coxon said the players were extremely excited to play with Fevola.
Coxon said he played in a one-off match with ex-AFL players Max Rooke, Nigel Lappin and Duncan Kellaway at former club Casterton, but Fevola would be the biggest name he had played with.
“Fev has got a big profile so he will come and put on a show because that’s what he’s all about,” he said.
“He wants to have four jumpers he can wear so he can sign them and then we can auction them off and things like that.”
Coxon said Fevola’s appearance had an unexpected positive effect on his coaching role.
“It probably makes pre-season a bit easier for me knowing that he’s coming along, so the ones who might not be playing seniors will be trying to impress and get the chance to say they have played with him.”
Noradjuha-Quantong coach Jarred Combe said Fevola’s signing was a unique situation but his players would be looking forward to the challenge of taking on the star goal-kicker.
He said it was too early to say which player might get the first chance to play on the former Carlton footballer.
“It’s a bit of a coup for Edenhope-Apsley but it’s sort of hard for us to know what to make of it at this stage,” he said.
“It’s something that’s a bit unusual to have him for that one-off game, but it should bring a lot of supporters out and it should be a finals-like atmosphere.”