‘I just loved him’
AFL legend Danny Frawley was farewelled by friends and fans on Wednesday, nine days after his death in a car accident.
Frawley’s wife Anita released a statement earlier this week talking of Frawley’s on-going mental health battles, and his decision to stop taking his medication eight months before the fatal crash.
Here is what the key speakers said at his service.
We live in a world that expects us to be stoic, sensitive and show our sensitivities.
The male mantra: Harden up, soak it up, man up, has been handed down from generation to generation like it’s some sort of badge of honour that teaches us from a very early age that to be a man – a real man – you need to be tough.
It’s time to challenge the old way. A narrative that no longer serves us. It’s not about blame or shame. It’s about responsibility and opportunity.
Fellas, it’s OK to be in pain. It’s OK to hurt. It’s OK to be sad. It’s no longer OK to suffer in silence.
I’m on a 26-year mental health journey that will continue for the rest of my life. And I’m comfortable with that. You see my health and wellbeing is ultimately my responsibility. It’s up to me to stay healthy and well. There is a reason why I no longer drink alcohol. There is a reason why I exercise. There is a reason why I prioritise sleep. There is a reason why I try to eat well. There is a reason why I see my GP regularly. There is a reason why I’m engaged and constantly talking to my support network.
When necessary, there is a reason why I take medication. Those reasons are all the same. Because my mental health and wellbeing depends on it.
If I don’t do the things I need to do every day then ultimately I will pay a price. My mental health suffers.
To anyone here today who has or who is living with a mental health condition, I want to encourage you to make a similar commitment to your mental health and wellbeing.
Spud: You were a beautiful man who I cared about deeply.
You were a great mate who I unashamedly loved. You were and will always be a loyal, loving, supporting and encouraging friend who I will love forever.
I miss our chats. Our deep conversations, the practical jokes, your infectious spirit, your passion. I’m so proud of you Spud. I’m proud of how hard you fought. I’m proud of how hard you worked to overcome these insidious conditions the first time around.
And I’m incredibly proud of you for helping countless others. I may have lost this battle, Spud, but my promise to you, Anita and your three beautiful girls is we won’t lose the war.
Spud, what I’d give to just have one more conversation. I’d tell you like I always did. It’s OK mate. We’ve been here before. We will get through this together. And we will do it again. I believe in you brother so let’s keep doing the work.
Until then my beautiful friend, you are free to fly with the angels. I love you Spud.
He was the most magnificent partner in crime you could ever wish for.
I loved working with him, I loved his company. I just loved him.
All for you, Spud ❤️ pic.twitter.com/K3h9nsFbT7
— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) September 18, 2019
He had what I termed this ‘beautiful irreverence’. His ability to get out of trouble was legendary.
He was an unbelievable competitor … he was as competitive as any man I had ever known.
What has been really obvious from the day I have met him is that he loved his mates … what I want to make sure and I don’t think it needs to be said is he loved his girls more than anything.
I have never seen a husband or a father more proud of his girls and their achievements and accomplishments. He was an over-sharer. We know more about you than you care to know.
Rather than wrestle with despair and sadness, I’d prefer to remember Spud for how he made us feel. Spud was our captain and almost immediately started looking out for me.
I would go to their house most weeks for dinner. As Spud was going through his battles, he said he should’ve been a better captain. He was the best type of captain.
He knew when to train hard and he knew when to play hard. He trained like a madman. He brought us together off-field like no other. He was literally one of a kind, the best kind.
Stats never truly tell you a story about a football career and this is certainly the case with Spud.
He not only became the captain at 23, but our spiritual leader. Both Danny and Anita’s influence was enormous.
They were an amazing team, and cared so much.
‘The gaping hole in our family’
The wife of AFL legend Danny Frawley has released a statement about his mental health struggles in the final month of his life.
Danny Frawley died last week, the day after his 56th birthday, when his car crashed into a tree.
His wife Anita Frawley said she released the statement as a reminder to people grappling with mental health problems to seek help from professionals. She said her husband had stopped taking medication for his issues eight months before his death.
On Monday, the love of my life was tragically taken from my girls and I.
Many have speculated on the cause and lead-up to this tragedy. Danny, as a champion of mental health, would want me to continue his legacy and be open with the public on the events leading up to this heartbreak.
While the circumstances of the event are unconfirmed and will remain uncertain until the investigations are complete, it was true that Danny’s mental health had deteriorated in recent weeks.
As is widely known, Danny had experienced and lived with depression dating back a number of years. But to his credit, he had put up his hand and accepted psychiatric treatment, counselling and medication. He recovered and returned to being the Danny of old.
The road leading up to last Monday’s events began eight months ago when Danny made the decision to take himself off his prescribed medication. At this point Danny felt invincible, like the true competitor and proud man that he was; he felt that he had beaten the disease. In fact, he felt bullet-proof, which contributed to his decision to remove himself from his support network including his psychiatric care and not continuing to work with his team of mental health professionals.
The reason I am making this public is that I want this to be a reminder to all those grappling with mental health conditions and to those whom have made progress with their wellbeing that you should always seek help from professionals when considering making decisions surrounding your mental health, even when you feel as though you have fully recovered.
Our final memory of Danny is one we will cherish forever, a night spent sitting around our family table, playing board games and laughing on his 56th birthday. He will never be forgotten and will forever be in our hearts.
I would like to leave everyone with this quote from Danny, “Manning up in the past was to suffer in silence, manning up now is to put your hand up.”
We invite all those who would like to farewell our remarkable man to join us at RSEA Park – St Kilda Football Club, 32/60 Linton St, Moorabbin, VIC, 3189 at 3pm on Wednesday, the 18th of September.
We will be wearing a touch of blue in memory of Danny and for the significance of beyondblue, PukaUp and One In Five. To show your condolences, we ask that you please donate to beyondblue in honour of Danny.
If you or someone you know needs support, help is available:
* Lifeline 13 11 14
* Mensline Australia 1300 789 978
* Kids Help 1800 55 1800
* Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Danny, you were the love of my life and will continue to be until our paths cross again. Since Monday, there has been a gaping hole in our family which will never be repaired. The girls and I are finding it difficult to accept you are gone and our lives as we knew them will never be the same. We miss you. We will always miss you. Anita xx
TRIBUTES FOR AN AFL LEGEND
An AFL Life Member and a much-loved figure in football.
A tribute to St Kilda icon, Danny Frawley. pic.twitter.com/SKst2u5LbV
— AFL (@AFL) September 9, 2019
The St Kilda Football Club is heart-broken by the passing of club great Danny Frawley.
— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) September 9, 2019
R.I.P mate. You gave me my first opportunity to play AFL. You took a punt on me, when no one else did. You were so supportive and always there for me and my family. I’m forever grateful. Condolences to Anita, Chelsea, Keeley and Danielle. Gone way to soon. R.I.P Spud ? pic.twitter.com/wHPMjfYqvl
— Andrew Krakouer (@andrewkrakouer) September 9, 2019
Danny Frawley! another very sad death. Sad beyond sad. worse now for his family. My thoughts are with them and so sad we could not save Spud. He will be missed!
— Jeff Kennett (@jeff_kennett) September 9, 2019
All at the Richmond Football Club are mourning the passing of our former coach, Danny Frawley.
Passionate and wholehearted, Danny coached 113 senior games between 2000 and 2004, including guiding the club to the 2001 preliminary final.
Loved by so many; Rest In Peace, Spud ❤️ pic.twitter.com/xRvQWCjH30
— Richmond FC ? (@Richmond_FC) September 9, 2019
I’m deeply saddened by the passing of Danny Frawley.A work colleague over the years and valued member of the All Australian selection committee. Wonderful player , captain,finals coach and much loved media performer. My grandkids loved the Golden Fist award on The Bounce. RIP Kb
— Kevin Bartlett (@KevinBartlett29) September 9, 2019
Spud a good country lad. Loved his story telling abilities, always made everyone laugh. Thinking of his family xx
— Joel Selwood (@joelselwood14) September 9, 2019
— Patrick Dangerfield (@dangerfield35) September 9, 2019
Rest In Peace Spud pic.twitter.com/udGX9iaOo0
— Phil Davis (@phildavis_1) September 9, 2019
Rest In Peace Spud. My thoughts and prayers are with his Family & friends at this time❤️
— Shaun Burgoyne (@ShaunBurgoyne9) September 9, 2019
Absolutely devastating news on Danny Frawley.
Thoughts go out to all family and friends.
A champion bloke and an immeasurable impact on so many in the footy community through his playing, coaching & broadcasting.#RIPSpud ?
— Jude Bolton (@Jude_Bolton) September 9, 2019
Doesn’t feel right laughing and taking the piss today so @swannyfriends podcast will not be recorded this week. Instead of listening to us talk shit for an hour this week go spend it with people close to you and tell em you love em. Life’s far too short. RIP spud ❤️.
— Dane Swan (@swandane) September 9, 2019
Absolutely devastated about the tragic passing of Danny “Spud” Frawley. Growing up watching his tenacity & never give up attitude on the wet grounds at Ballarat was something I’ll never forget. Always a competitor but winning and losing didn’t change him. It defined him. RIP mate
— Michael McGuane (@MickMCG34) September 9, 2019
Vale Danny Frawley. Absolutely shattered. Gave me my chance. Such a caring and passionate person. Thoughts are with his family. Gone to soon. #spud.
— Jay Schulz (@Jschulz28) September 9, 2019
Just so sad. Love and prayers for the Frawley family. Thinking of you all. XO
— David King (@davidking34) September 9, 2019