Brendan Fevola never got his 100 goals.
Brendan Fevola never got his 100 goals.

Fev finally gets apology for day of infamy

BRENDAN Fevola never got his 100th goal.

For all of the 623 sausage rolls he punted across his 13-years in the AFL, Fevola never got near the immortal number of 100 goals in a season like he did in 2008 when he finished the season stranded on 99.

The popular footy larrikin was famously stitched up by Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson when the high-flying Hawks took on the Blues in the final round of the regular season.

Now, for the first time, Fevola has finally got the apology he has always been owed with Hawthorn great Campbell Brown coming clean on the organised, tactical moves Hawthorn made on the day of infamy to ensure Fevola would never enter the record books alongside Lance Franklin - who on the same day also booted his 100th goal of the season.

The day is rightly remembered as Buddy's day - the match where the now Swans superstar became the first player in 10 years (and perhaps the last ever) to reach the magic number.

It could have so easily been Fev's day.

A career day.

The fix was in.
The fix was in.

But, for no reason other than athletic hubris and stubborn selfishness, Clarkson and his Hawthorn players refused to let anyone else share the spotlight with Franklin.

Carlton lost the round 22 match 159-81 and were never in the contest. Still Clarkson refused to give Fevola an inch.

The story is one of legend.

Fevola entered the final game of the season on 92 goals.

His hopes of a magic milestone appeared over at half-time as Franklin passed the 100-mark, but Fevola went into the half-time break with 0.2 to his name.

However, he famously caught fire in the second half, kicking seven goals as the Blues made getting the ball to their full-forward priority No.1.

With the result locked up and with nothing else to play for, Clarkson's famous competitive streak kicked in and he ordered his team to stop everything they were doing and make stopping Fevola their primary focus.

The Hawks flooded their defence, despite being up by more than 10 goals in the second half.

Brown on Friday admitted it was a mistake to stop Fevola - and apologised for his team's dastardly act.

"Buddy had kicked his 100th earlier in the night at the night was all about Buddy," Brown re-counted.

Fev never got there.
Fev never got there.

"We didn't need Fev ruining the parade so Clarko, we were up by 10 goals, Fev was one off (100) and we dropped a couple of men back into the hole.

"For the last eight or nine minutes Carlton were trying to get the ball to him and we wanted none of it.

"Fev was just saying 'give me a goal boys, you've won, seriously'.

"In hindsight I would have loved for him to have kicked his 100th.

"How many times will two players on the one night have kicked their 100th, we'll never see it again.

"In the moment, in the competitive moment, we were like nah, he's not doing this. I'm sorry Fev."

Fevola's 7.3 was enough to leave him forever stranded on 99. Franklin went on to win the Coleman medal, finishing the season with 102 goals.

Clarkson shrugged off the controversy at the time, saying, simply, that Fevola had his chances and couldn't take them.

They're chances that will have given the Blues great more than a few moments of restless sleep in the 11 years since.

The day belonged to Buddy.
The day belonged to Buddy.

At least he finally has his apology.

If Clarkson's comments after the game are anything to go by, he might be waiting another 11 years to finally get an apology from the veteran coach.

"He had his chances over the course of the game; he probably had 10 shots on goal," Clarkson said in 2008.

"I don't think he had a goal at half-time and he ended up kicking seven, which is a pretty special effort in itself.

"Seven goals in a half of footy - it's a tough, brutal game and he was unable to get there at the end."