The lives of more than a handful of Fremantle members were changed forever as Fremantle announced the winners of the Forever Mega Draw on Friday.
The draw, which included more than $1 million in prizes, aimed to reward Fremantle’s most passionate and loyal members as the club navigated the financial issues surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
Matt Belotti, of Dianella, took out the major prize, the $700,000 ”Rosewood” home by Dale Alcock Homes at Apsley Estate.
A seven-year member, Belotti made a ‘Platinum Pledge’ to the club and had 11 entries into the draw - equivalent to an $1100 contribution to Fremantle.
The 32-year-old was not alone in his generosity, with 97 per cent of members pledging or donating a proportion of their membership to the club in some way.
Without the prospect of a game being played in front of fans at Optus Stadium in 2020, the project generated $11.2 million of Fremantle’s $15.44 million pre-Covid membership budget.
On top of existing member contributions, an additional 3500 Forever Hero memberships were sold, seeing the Forever Project generate more than $11.5 million for the Fremantle Football Club.
Belotti was lost for words when president Dale Alcock made the call to pass on the life-changing news.
“I’ve had the chance to calm down a bit but it was so surreal at the time. I was speechless and it’s only starting to sink in,” Belotti said.
“I told my girlfriend and she was absolutely stunned and she’s still pretty psyched up about the whole thing.
“I’m just so thankful to Fremantle and I’m blown away by the whole thing.”
Belotti said his favourite part of going to the footy was having something to do with his mates.
“I love going to watch the football and I love getting behind the boys when they go out and play, and the girls as well now we have an AFLW team,” Belotti said.
“I have some really good mates who are all Freo members and supporters and we like to go to the footy and have a good time.
“We have five seats in a row together. It’s those sort of things, they’re the memories that you make that last.”
Alcock was also on hand to inform 21-year member David Michael that he had won a 2020 Toyota Yaris Ascent Sport from Canning Vale Toyota and Maddington Toyota, and seven-year member Nick Holt, who won a Year's Supply of Groceries valued at $12,000 from The Good Grocer.
“Today I just felt lucky to be the president of the Fremantle Dockers, having the chance to call some of our dedicated members and give back to them,” Alcock said.
“The best part was that the winners are all people who have made significant pledges to our Forever Project and are long-term Freo members.
“There were 29 pledges between the three members I called today in Matt, David and Nick who won the house, the car and the groceries. From talking to them and hearing the love they have for Freo, I have the feeling that the prizes couldn’t have gone to better people.”
In total, more than 500 of the 51,577 members who supported to the club won a prize and Alcock said he was thrilled but not totally surprised, by the generosity from the club’s members.
“The club’s been blown away by the high percentage of pledges that we’ve had but I think in the back of our minds, we already knew the Purple Army had this level of support and passion for this club.” Alcock said.
“To see that come out in 2020, when everyone’s had a tough year, has just been an awesome endorsement of their love for the Fremantle Football Club.”
Alcock was delighted to see his business Dale Alcock Homes and his club come together for the Forever Project.
“From Dale Alcock Homes’ perspective, it’s just been great to be involved with the Fremantle Football Club,” Alcock said.
“While I am a member and the president of the Fremantle Football Club, for the business to be able to assist the club at this time is fantastic.
“The excitement that it’s been able to generate in the campaign has been great for both the club and for Dale Alcock Homes. It’s a reflection of the business working within the community.”
View the full list of winners below.