Fenech in 2008
11 November 1962 |
|Position||Hooker, Prop, Second-row|
Mario Fenech (nicknamed "The Maltese Falcon", or "Muzza") is a Maltese Australian rugby league personality. He is a former player of the game for New South Wales, and is a regular guest on The Footy Show. His favoured position was as Hooker, where he represented NSW. In his later career he became a Prop-forward. He captained the Rabbitohs from 1986 to 1990.
Rugby league career
Mario Fenech was living in the Botany region of Sydney at the time of his childhood. His family believed he would become a great footballer and they thought that Botany Rams Junior Team would not get him to where they wanted him to be, they then moved him into the Mascot Juniors team. At the time when he was a child all South Sydney champions came from Mascot Juniors. Fenech's career spanned 1981 to 1995. He played for the South Sydney Rabbitohs from 1981 to 1990. He was a strong runner from dummy half and given his style and size, almost always attracted a number of defenders intent on stopping his progress. From 1986 to 1990, he captained the Rabbitohs. In 1991, after failing to secure an adequate contract with South Sydney (who were in financial trouble at the time and could only offer him a reduced salary), he moved to the North Sydney Bears and played for them until 1994. His departure from Souths caused significant controversy within the club with many ordinary members of the club extremely disappointed with the decision to release him. For his part, Fenech later told how he never wanted to leave the Rabbitohs, but even at age 28 he felt he still had more to offer and signed with the Bears. In 1995, he ended his career with the South Queensland Crushers. Since retiring Mario has also represented Malta in a rugby league sevens tournament.
On 5 July 1988, Fenech (playing at hooker) was given the honour of captaining a President's XIII side (a team that included Mal Meninga, Greg Alexander, Mark Geyer, Gavin Miller, David Gillespie and Glenn Lazarus) against the touring Great Britain Lions. The match, played in wet and muddy conditions at the Seiffert Oval in Queanbeyan (Canberra), saw the Don Furner coached side defeat the tourists 24–16.
Post-rugby league career
Since retiring from football Fenech has been involved in the entertainment industry. In 2001 his book What's Doing? was published. He has been a regular contributor on The Footy Show, appeared on numerous other TV shows, including Pizza, and made a brief cameo in the rugby league-based film Footy Legends. With his stint on The Footy Show, footage has been replayed of him being hit on the head with a football. Thus he has had the dubious honour of having contact made between the football and the head on the full named "The Falcon".
Fenech remains a loyal supporter of the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
- Rugby League Project
- Yesterday's Hero
- "Falcon backs men with heart". The Morning Bulletin. 24 July 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- Catholic Weekly article Archived 8 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
- 1988 President's XIII vs Great Britain
- "Mario Fenech to rejuvenate home suburb of Maroubra if elected to Randwick Council". Daily Telegraph.