Former NSW State of Origin star Brett Finch is candid about hitting rock bottom during a battle with drugs and alcohol.
The former star halfback, who played for Canberra, Sydney, Parramatta and Melbourne in a 270-match NRL career, said he lost his girlfriend and had to give up two jobs at his lowest point.
But fans became concerned about his health two years ago when they saw him on a podcast by NRL great and commentator Matty Johns.
A commenter on Johns’ podcast webpage said they were “really concerned about Brett Finch… I really hope I’m wrong, but he doesn’t look like much at all.”
Brett Finch fans (pictured) were concerned after seeing his erratic behavior on a 2019 podcast
Another commentator said: ‘Most would know that he has had a history and hard times in the past. She’d even brought it up earlier in the year on MJ’s (Matty Johns’) podcast show, Brave Stuff.
“He came across to me as if I was really on his feet in the media this year, but those were car accidents to watch… genuinely concerned.”
There was also concern for Finch when he was spotted asleep with a bloodied and runny nose on a flight from Sydney to the Gold Coast in September 2019.
A fellow passenger said he didn’t want to get off the plane and looked “ghost white.”
‘[He] couldn’t contain his runny nose and (appeared) paranoid. He wasn’t abusive. He just didn’t want to get off the plane, like he was afraid of something,” they told the Daily Telegraph at the time.
The passenger claimed that the plane’s captain was forced to come out before the fire service and an ambulance were called to get him out of the plane.
Another source said it was “quite confronting” and “sad” to see Finch struggling to breathe.
A few days later, he had himself committed to a mental institution to be treated for anxiety.
Finch married his girlfriend of five years Elli Johnston in 2018 and the couple welcomed a daughter in 2019
He left Channel Nine after working as a commentator and panelist on the NRL Footy Show in 2016, citing mental health issues.
Finch, 40, opened up Wednesday on the Turn Up The Talk podcast hosted by Pat Clifton about his drug use and battles with addiction.
“The low point was when I stepped down from Channel Nine, just to get well,” Finch said.
Finch recalled sneaking into bed and pretending to be asleep after spending the whole night in his living room “taking drugs and drinking” so his then-girlfriend Elli would think he’d been in bed.
‘[I] pretend wake up put on my radio shirt cause I was working for 2GB Continuous Calling at the time… I already called Ray [Hadley] to tell him I was sick,” he recalled.
Former NRL star Brett Finch, pictured with wife Elli Johnston, recalled the moment she left him during his battle with drug and alcohol addiction and his first thought was, ‘Where can I pick it up, where can I get another one? ? ‘
‘Get in the car, go straight to the dealer’s house. My wife is from Melbourne, she won’t listen to the radio, you know.
“I think, Finchy, you great bastard, you have a great… you know, I’ll just go with it all day.”
Finch revealed that his plan backfired when his mother heard on the radio that he was sick and then his girlfriend found out.
“Elli knew exactly where I was going,” he said.
‘She said, ‘I’m gone, I’m going’, packs her bags and heads back to Melbourne.
“I come home, now I’m out of both jobs, and I go to my account and I have minus $10. Eighteen months before, I had hundreds of thousands.
“I sat there and — not that I ever contemplated suicide — but I sat there and went, mate, this ain’t life, this exists,” the former NRL star told the Turn Up The Talk podcast
“And my first thought is, where can I get it, where can I get another one?
“It’s taken everything from me, but my thought is, I still want another one. It’s ridiculous, I’ve just lost everything.’
Finch said it was at that moment that he realized that something had to change in his life.
“I sat there and — not that I ever considered suicide — but I sat there and went, mate, this isn’t a life, this exists,” he said.
“I don’t have a dollar to my name, I don’t have a job, my lady has left, this is not a life.”
Finch married his girlfriend of five years Elli Johnston in 2018 and the couple welcomed a daughter in 2019.
He previously discussed his battles with addiction towards the end of his playing career, including stints in rehab in Thailand.
The former star halfback, who played for Canberra, the Roosters, Parramatta and the Melbourne Storm in a 270-match NRL career, had a rough time following his retirement in 2013.
“It took a couple of years, it took three trips to rehab,” Finch told The Matty Johns Podcast in 2019.
“I learned a lot about myself and the things I deal with. I had to realize that I’m not going to get the highs I had in footy and that’s what I’ve been aiming for for so long.”
Finch’s most famous moment on the field came in the opening game of the 2006 State of Origin series, when he kicked a long field goal to win the game for the NSW Blues in front of 80,000 fans.
In another section of the Turn Up The Talk podcast devoted to mental health issues, Finch offered some advice to people battling similar demons.
“People say they go through hell. Well, if you’re going through hell, keep going,” he said.
‘Why stop? People give up because their life is hell. Keep it up! Who wants to stay in hell?
“I could have given up many times, I’m so glad I didn’t. People didn’t give up on me.’
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