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‘That’s what Spud would’ve wanted you to do’: Tears flow in beautiful tributes to Frawley

‘That’s what Spud would’ve wanted you to do’: Tears flow in beautiful tributes to Frawley

This was the most perfect and beautiful pre-game tribute.

From special ‘Spud’ jumpers to the renaming of goal ends and speeches from his great mates, Danny Frawley’s life and legacy was truly honoured eighteen months after the Saints great died in a single-car crash.

St Kilda and Melbourne on Saturday night put on the inaugural ‘Spud’s Game: Time 2 Talk’ — a celebration of the life and memory of the late Danny Frawley, as well as an opportunity to promote a national conversation that can help lead to early intervention and fight the prevalence of mental ill-health in the community.

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It started hours before the game as St Kilda players wore warm-up tops with the No. 2 and ‘Spud’ on their backs — the Saints guernsey number and nickname Frawley made so famous. There were ample smiles on the faces of players as they warmed up ahead of the crucial clash.

Saints players run out for warm up in special tribute tops to Danny ‘Spud’ Frawley. Picture: Quinn Rooney
Saints players run out for warm up in special tribute tops to Danny ‘Spud’ Frawley. Picture: Quinn RooneySource: Getty Images
Steven May of the Demons hugs Bradley Hill of the Saints. Picture: Quinn Rooney
Steven May of the Demons hugs Bradley Hill of the Saints. Picture: Quinn RooneySource: Getty Images

As players warmed up, they practised their goalkicking at the ‘Lockett’ and ‘Frawley’ ends of Marvel Stadium, with the Lloyd end temporarily replaced for the special occasion.

Speaking of Tony Lockett, the all-time VFL/AFL goalkicker was a grand presence in the Saints rooms pre-game.

He shook hands with Saints coach Brett Ratten and handed milestone man Jack Sinclair his jumper ahead of the wingman’s 100th AFL match.

Tony Lockett presents Jack Sinclair of the Saints with his jumper before his 100th match. Picture: Michael Willson
Tony Lockett presents Jack Sinclair of the Saints with his jumper before his 100th match. Picture: Michael WillsonSource: Getty Images
What a thrill for Saints players. Picture: Michael Willson
What a thrill for Saints players. Picture: Michael WillsonSource: Getty Images

Lockett then joined Melbourne champion Garry Lyon and St Kilda legend Stewart Loewe in the middle of Marvel Stadium.

Surrounded by players, coaches and umpires, the three close friends of Frawley delivered a pre-game tribute to Frawley.

The game was scheduled to start at 7.25pm, but was delayed by two minutes to allow those watching two minutes to check up on their mates.

Garry Lyon, Tony Lockett and Stewart Loewe address players and the crowd in honour of Danny Frawley. Picture: Michael Willson
Garry Lyon, Tony Lockett and Stewart Loewe address players and the crowd in honour of Danny Frawley. Picture: Michael WillsonSource: Getty Images

“Whether you’re sitting here in the stands or at home watching on the television, it’s a time to talk,” Lyon said. “If you’ve got an issue at home, if you’ve got a problem, if you think there’s something that needs to be said, we are encouraging tonight to talk – and that’s what Spud would’ve wanted you to do.

“If you didn’t know Danny Frawley like we did, he had three great loves. He loved his family most of all, he loved his mates and he loved to compete. And this time right here just before the game was starting was when he was at his best, because he was standing alongside his mates like these two (Loewe and Lockett) and he was eye-balling the bloke across the line – and that was what he was all about it.

Players and umpires form a circle to remember the late Danny 'Spud' Frawley. Picture: Dylan Burns
Players and umpires form a circle to remember the late Danny 'Spud' Frawley. Picture: Dylan BurnsSource: Getty Images
Garry Lyon addresses players and the crowd. Picture: Michael Willson
Garry Lyon addresses players and the crowd. Picture: Michael WillsonSource: Getty Images

“I was thinking about what the message might be to Jack Steele and the Saints boys: ‘Don’t you dare take a backwards step tonight, boys.’ He’ll be watching.

“And what would he say to Maxy (Gawn) and your Melbourne boys: ‘Make sure you’re worthy of the honour of being involved in this game tonight.’ That’s what it’s all about.”

“Look after your mates.”

Loewe then asked everyone to link arms and have 10 seconds of silence to remember Frawley.

Frawley’s family watched from the sidelines, their emotion and pride summing up what this night would’ve meant to the Saints great.

Funds raised during Spud’s Game will go to mental health programs through the Danny Frawley Centre for Health and Wellbeing, as well as Movember. DONATE HERE

If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78,

For further information about depression, contact beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.

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