Danny Frawley’s wife and daughters pay tribute to the AFL which is great for the St Kilda vs Melbourne match

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Danny Frawley’s wife and daughters have joined footyfans to honor the AFL Great in an emotional tribute to the St Kilda and Melbourne game on Saturday night.

The former St. Kilda captain was killed when his vehicle crashed into a tree near Ballarat, Victoria, on September 9, 2019, the day after his 56th birthday.

He was pronounced dead on the spot, leaving behind his wife Anita and three daughters Chelsea, Keeley and Danielle – all of whom appeared at Marvel Stadium for the second round and the inaugural ‘Spud’s Game: Time 2 Talk’.

The new mental health initiative, 18 months after his tragic death, is urging everyone, especially men, to get in touch with their mental health.

Danny Frawley's wife Anita Frawley (second right), and three daughters Chelsea (left), Keeley (second left) and Danielle Frawley (right) pose for a photo during the 2021 AFL Round 02 game between the St Kilda Saints and the Melbourne Demons at Marvel Stadium on March 27, 2021 in Melbourne

Danny Frawley’s wife Anita Frawley (second right), and three daughters Chelsea (left), Keeley (second left) and Danielle Frawley (right) pose for a photo during the 2021 AFL Round 02 game between the St Kilda Saints and the Melbourne Demons at Marvel Stadium on March 27, 2021 in Melbourne

Players, referees and officials form a circle in memory of the late Danny 'Spud' Frawley

Players, referees and officials form a circle in memory of the late Danny 'Spud' Frawley

Players, referees and officials form a circle in memory of the late Danny ‘Spud’ Frawley

Garry Lyon, Tony Lockett and Stewart Loewe address players and the audience in honor of Danny Frawley

Garry Lyon, Tony Lockett and Stewart Loewe address players and the audience in honor of Danny Frawley

Garry Lyon, Tony Lockett and Stewart Loewe address players and the audience in honor of Danny Frawley

As part of the moving scenes, players and referees lined up in a circle in the center of the field while fellow AFL stars and friends of Frawley, Garry Lyon and Stewart Loewe addressed the crowd.

“It’s a time to talk,” said Lyon. “If you have a problem at home, if you have a problem, if you think something needs to be said – we encourage you to talk tonight, and that’s what Spud would like you to do.”

The match was delayed by two minutes to encourage viewers to check in with their friends.

Anita and Frawley’s three daughters watched from the borderline as the stadium lights dimmed.

Leading up to the match, Ms. Frawley revealed that she had no idea the footy great was suffering in silence.

She said there was “subtle changes” in her husband’s state of mind that “he could not recognize” that led to his suicide.

The Frawley end boards will be illuminated by a floodlight during the 2021 AFL Round 02 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Melbourne Demons at Marvel Stadium on March 27, 2021 in Melbourne.

The Frawley end boards will be illuminated by a floodlight during the 2021 AFL Round 02 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Melbourne Demons at Marvel Stadium on March 27, 2021 in Melbourne.

The Frawley end boards will be illuminated by a floodlight during the 2021 AFL Round 02 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Melbourne Demons at Marvel Stadium on March 27, 2021 in Melbourne.

As part of the moving scenes, players and referees lined up in a circle in the center of the field while fellow AFL stars and friends of Frawley, Garry Lyon and Stewart Loewe addressed the crowd.

As part of the moving scenes, players and referees lined up in a circle in the center of the field while fellow AFL stars and friends of Frawley, Garry Lyon and Stewart Loewe addressed the crowd.

As part of the moving scenes, players and referees lined up in a circle in the center of the field while fellow AFL stars and friends of Frawley, Garry Lyon and Stewart Loewe addressed the crowd.

“It’s a time to talk,” said Gary Lyon. “If you have a problem at home, if you have a problem, if you think something needs to be said – we encourage you to talk tonight, and that’s what Spud would like you to do.”

‘I had no idea, I just didn’t know he was suffering or what was going on. You’re there in your marriage trying to protect everything so obviously he hid it for a while, but then he had a complete breakdown, ” she told the Herald Sun

“But Danny was something else because when he collapsed it was a complete breakdown, there was no sleep or anything, but we didn’t really know what was going on.”

The horrors of that fateful September night are “still so raw and emotional” for Ms. Frawley – while encouraging others that it’s “okay to come out” and “be vulnerable.”

Ms. Frawley said that while the mental health problems can be ‘reversed’ with the ‘right help and medication’, people should continue to seek guidance and reach out to others.

She said the ‘Time 2 Talk’ message was crucial in getting people to open up and share how they were feeling.

St Kilda coach Brett Ratten revealed that the club has ‘a little bit of Spud in everything we do’ as he remembers his friend’s legacy.

Dubbed Spud's Game: Time 2 Talk - the new mental health initiative, 18 months after his tragic death, is urging everyone, especially men, to discuss and talk about their mental health

Dubbed Spud's Game: Time 2 Talk - the new mental health initiative, 18 months after his tragic death, is urging everyone, especially men, to discuss and talk about their mental health

Dubbed Spud’s Game: Time 2 Talk – the new mental health initiative, 18 months after his tragic death, is urging everyone, especially men, to discuss and talk about their mental health

Nearly 18 months after Danny Frawley's death (photo second from right, with his daughters and partner), his wife said it was a 'raw and emotional' time for the family

Nearly 18 months after Danny Frawley's death (photo second from right, with his daughters and partner), his wife said it was a 'raw and emotional' time for the family

Nearly 18 months after Danny Frawley’s death (photo second from right, with his daughters and partner), his wife said it was a ‘raw and emotional’ time for the family

The message to encourage more conversations for people experiencing challenges or mental health issues is one that Ratten is actively trying to implement with his team.

‘We want people to come out and talk about their situation, and you have to have the courage to do that. But it’s also about knocking on the door of those who are struggling, ”he said.

He understands that sometimes it can be up to the ’10th time they actually answer’ and reveal that they are not doing well.

Even when Ratten was fired as Carlton’s coach in 2012, he said Frawley went beyond his role as CEO of the AFL Coaches’ Association to “ get in touch and make sure I was okay. ”

Rats said the AFL industry could become a high-pressure environment, but clubs need to keep an eye on individuals’ mental and physical health.

Spud's Game: Time 2 Talk is designed to address community mental health issues through a special round 2 tribute competition honoring the late Danny Frawley (pictured)

Spud's Game: Time 2 Talk is designed to address community mental health issues through a special round 2 tribute competition honoring the late Danny Frawley (pictured)

Spud’s Game: Time 2 Talk is designed to address community mental health issues through a special round 2 tribute competition honoring the late Danny Frawley (pictured)

After his 16-year-old son Cooper was killed in a car accident in 2016, Ratten said he saw the power of the footy community as they rallied behind his family and helped them through their grief.

The devastating loss made inquiring about his team’s well-being a priority for the coach as he admits that “sometimes life isn’t easy.”

Nicknamed Spud because he grew up on a potato farm, Frawley played 240 games for St Kilda before coaching Richmond to the 2001 preliminary final.

He was St Kilda’s longest serving captain until Nick Riewoldt eclipsed his record in 2014.

He has commented on the AFL for Triple M, Fox Sports, SEN and the Nine Network – and also worked part-time as a defensive coach with his beloved Saints.

If you or someone you know is in need of mental health care, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

St Kilda coach Brett Ratten (pictured) revealed the club has 'a little spud in everything we do' as he recalls his friend's legacy

St Kilda coach Brett Ratten (pictured) revealed the club has 'a little spud in everything we do' as he recalls his friend's legacy

St Kilda coach Brett Ratten (pictured) revealed the club has ‘a little spud in everything we do’ as he recalls his friend’s legacy