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Tony Lockett part of spine-tingling scenes that bring AFL to a standstill

There were touching scenes before the first bounce of St Kilda’s match against Melbourne as footy gathered to celebrate AFL icon Danny Frawley.

There were touching scenes before the first bounce of St Kilda’s match against Melbourne as footy gathered to celebrate AFL icon Danny Frawley.

The Saints legend suffered from mental health issues and died in a car crash in 2019 — but his legacy lives on. Saturday night’s game was dubbed Spud’s Game: Time 2 Talk, an initiative which aims to tackle mental health issues within the AFL community and encourage people to speak up, seek help and look after one another.

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Frawley’s family was in attendance and daughter Keeley tossed the coin, while the lights dimmed at Marvel Stadium on a night the Coventry end of the ground was renamed after Frawley.

The late footy great’s good friends Garry Lyon and Stuart Loewe spoke to the crowd before the game and encouraged them to speak up if they have an issue.

Frawley’s daughters and wife Anita watched on from the boundary line as the players and umpires gathered around the centre circle, the first bounce being delayed by two minutes — to encourage those watching on in the stands and at home to check in on their mates.

“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 you tonight to talk, and that’s what Spud would have wanted you to do.”

Another of Frawley’s mates, goalkicking legend Tony Lockett, has spent much of his life in retirement avoiding the public and media spotlight but came out on Saturday night for a cause close to his heart.

Lockett said he hadn’t been to a St Kilda game in Melbourne since Round One, 2000, but knew he had to be on deck to show his support for his former captain.

The former footy star — who played 183 games for the Saints and 98 times for the Swans — stood with Lyon and Loewe in the centre of the ground after addressing the crowd earlier in the night.

“Like everyone here, I loved the bloke. He was just fantastic,” Lockett said. “It’s great the AFL and the club now have put together this game and we really need to make the most of it for Danny’s sake.

“He’s an icon of the AFL industry, he’s loved by everyone ... everyone loves Spud.

“His message is very clear and we need to take that and take some real positive stuff out of it now.

“It is time to talk.”

After 21 years away, Lockett addressed the Saints in their changeroom before the game.

“As we know tonight is a very special night for us St Kilda people. Tonight, we honour the great Danny Frawley,” Lockett told the players.

“It’s been 18 months now and it’s been a pretty tough 18 months for a lot of people.

“It’s a game that, we’re here to celebrate it, and it’s a game that’s pretty close to everyone’s hearts here at the footy club because he was a very special person.

“Not only a great player, great teammate, great captain, but more importantly a great person.

“Tonight is a real celebration in memory of Danny ... he was a great friend of mine and you guys should be really honoured tonight to be the first ones to play in the Danny Frawley tribute game.

“Let’s have a win for him, hey.”

The Demons ultimately secured a comfortable 12.19 (91) to 11.7 (73) victory at Marvel Stadium to remain undefeated in 2021.

St Kilda’s Jack Steele kicked a game-high three goals, while Clayton Oliver starred in the midfield with 37 disposals.

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