Voss suspected Fevola gambling problems - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Voss suspected Fevola gambling problems

By Laine Clark 16/04/2010 11:39:25 AM Comments (0)

Brisbane Lions coach Michael Voss admitted he had been suspicious of Brendan Fevola's gambling problems before the controversial forward came to him in January.

But Voss would not reveal whether he knew about Fevola's addiction during their trade talks, which came amid the fallout of the ex-Carlton star's Brownlow Medal antics.

In the lead-up to Saturday night's crunch game against Western Bulldogs, Fevola has admitted he is undergoing professional counselling to try to beat a gambling addiction.

Fevola said he had been affected by a gambling problem for several years, but had only recently begun steps to try to deal with it, with the support of the Lions.

He revealed his problem to Voss in January and started undergoing counselling in early February.

"We were aware of things going on," Voss said in Brisbane on Friday.

"But it is pointless unless someone comes to you and says `I want to do something about it' - it takes courage to do that.

"It also takes courage to say it publicly, to be put up there for criticism and judgment - I commend him.

"Everything he has done at this football club has been about wanting a fresh start, to be able to concentrate on his footy and let it do the talking - and that is still his firm focus."

The Lions came under fire from fans and critics alike for recruiting the Coleman Medallist after he had again made headlines for all the wrong reasons following Brownlow night.

Fevola has been solid for the Lions in his debut season - kicking nine goals from three games - but has made more news with his off-field efforts.

Apart from the Brownlow debacle, Fevola was investigated by the AFL over the Lara Bingle nude photo scandal, but was later cleared.

The Footy Show on Thursday night reported the former Carlton spearhead had debts worth well over $100,000 and owed money to at least three bookmakers.

Fevola has denied ever betting on football, which AFL players are not allowed to do.

Asked if he suspected Fevola's problem during trade talks, Voss said: "To be honest, those are details for us at the moment - that is irrelevant.

"It is about where Fev is at and what he is facing, that's where our energies lie.

"It's about firmly focusing on tomorrow."

Meanwhile, Voss said inspirational midfielder Simon Black was "pretty doubtful" to play against the Bulldogs due to an ongoing calf problem but would make a decision on his availability later on Friday.

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