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Fevola in care at least a week: Lions

Jim Morton 03/01/2011 06:31:55 PM Comments (0)

Coach Michael Voss has admitted he's pained by the damage his recruiting gamble on Brendan Fevola has brought to the Brisbane Lions' good reputation.

Speaking for the first time since a drunk and aggressive Fevola was arrested on New Year's morning, Voss on Monday was at pains to stress the AFL club would support a troubled star who has hit rock bottom.

But there appears little, if any, chance Fevola will wear the Lions jersey this year after he was admitted to a rehabilitation clinic to help address his fragile state of mind.

Voss said the 29-year-old would spend at least a week in formal care.

Concerned for his wellbeing, Brisbane officials will take time before deciding the future of a player with a poor record of off-field misbehaviour who Voss brought to the club from Carlton just over a year ago with equal doses of fanfare and public anxiety.

"In due course we'll make that decision," Voss said.

"I would expect he'll be in care for at least seven days so for us that's the most important period at this point in time.

"He now has to make a very clear choice about what he wants to do and that makes it more of a life issue for him as opposed to 'can he kick a football and can he kick goals?'.

"As a club we have to tread carefully and also at the same time be willing to support him as much as necessary to try to help him through that."

The Lions' three-time premiership skipper, now embarking on his third year as coach, admitted Fevola hadn't produced the goods expected on the field but was more distressed by the harm his off-field actions had done to the club's image.

In a telling statement, Voss said that would be an important consideration in deciding what to do with the final two years of the two-time Coleman Medallist's heavily back-ended contract, worth close to $1.6 million.

"The players went away on camp before Christmas and had a very powerful experience there and in some ways there's been a paradigm shift when it comes to tolerance of certain behaviours within our football club and how we want to be perceived as a football club," he said.

"That's an important consideration and something that we hold really dear to us and value enormously."

With the trade to secure Fevola on a three-year deal from Carlton widely regarded among the worst of all time, Voss also admitted it frustrated him that he couldn't make the gamble work.

"You want to get the best out of people. We just don't feel like we've got the best. That's disappointing," Voss said.

"At the moment, he just can't meet the standards required within an AFL club right now.

"We hope he is able to do that. At the same time, we've got another group of AFL players that are preparing for 2011."

Voss called for fans to keep the faith with the club and give Fevola some breathing space as he's struggled to deal with gambling and alcohol problems and a marriage break-up.

"You're all aware he's had gambling (problems) and he's got a whole lot of other things going on his life which have affected him," he said.

"It's just got on top of him over a period of time. That's all been scrutinised quite heavily in the public.

"It's hard to deal with by yourself, (let alone) publicly. It makes it all a little bit tougher."

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