St Kilda have opened their best and fairest awards night with an emotional tribute to club and AFL great Danny Frawley.
Stewart Loewe, Robert Harvey, Nathan Burke and Michael Roberts have spoken lovingly of their former teammate, who died tragically on Monday in a car crash.
Roberts raised a toast to Frawley, who died the day after his 56th birthday, and there was also a video tribute.
READ THE FULL TRANSCRIPT OF LOEWE AND HARVEY’S TRIBUTE BELOW
‘Sombre’ Saints Spud reunion
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Loewe and Harvey were choked with emotion as they gave their speeches.
Read the full transcript below.
Daniel Patrick Frawley. Born eighth of September 1963. Who was Danny Frawley? He was larger than life. He was the country kid, he was a footballer, he was our skipper. He was a coach, he was a spud farmer and media personality. He was a husband, a Dad, he was a brother, he was a friend to many and he was one of my best mates and he will always be my hero.
When Matt Finnis asked me yesterday if I would like to pay tribute to Danny tonight at the best and fairest, I couldn’t answer him. I said I need some time. I was numb, I was in shock, I was struggling like us all about what had just happened, trying to understand it. But after an hour or so by myself, I started to think, what would Spud want? What would he do? The answer was pretty obvious.
Put your suit on, roll up your sleeves and get the bloody job done. That’s just who he was. Anita, Chelsea, Danielle and Keeley, as well as all of Danny’s immediate family and close friends, would all want us to acknowledge this beautiful man and reflect on the legacy he has left at not just this magnificent football club but also the entire football community.
Greats’ teary Spud tribute
Footy clubs are full of cliches, but one that continually comes to mind is who would you want to take into battle with? Spud was always that man. He’d have your back every time, leading from the front. Kind of ironic that from a man who played full back.
Kenny Sheldon mentioned something yesterday that resonated with me. He described Spud as the glue that held everything together at St Kilda and wow what a perfect metaphor that was.
Harves (Robert Harvey) and I were both kids when we started our careers at St Kilda and like so many others, Danny was the person looking back who had a profound impact on us both. He helped shape us into the men we are today. He taught us how to compete, he had enormous empathy, he had an insatiable hunger to drive himself to be the best that he can be.
He knew when to lighten the mood and he was not afraid to shed a tear. He was the man that I just adored. First as a teammate and then as my skipper and then as one of my best mates. Tonight’s not about telling stories, that time will come and there will be plenty of those. Rather tonight is of reflection, it’s about perspective and understanding about what life truly is all about.
All of you current day players are no different to us. We’ve just had a go at it already. I’ve sat in your seats, I’ve listen to former players spinning yarns about their days. But boys this is different, because I know a lot of you have been touched in some ways by Danny. And those that haven’t, will always share that special St Kilda connection.
All he ever wanted for this club was success. And we know if we can keep filling this room with people like him, we will have it. Use tonight as the start, rather than the end. And remember as I know we all will, that the big man will always be watching over us, rest in peace mate, I love you.
It is really hard to put into words our feelings at this time — but we will have a go.
I’ve known all of Spud’s girls since they were little babies, they are like family to Danielle and I, and our kids. Chealsea was three years old when she was flower girl at our wedding 23 years ago and just seeing her heartbroken face yesterday was just so devastating for my wife and I.
Anita and his girls just loved him so much. He ached for his girls, he ached for Anita. It’s just a couple of heartbreaking days for us to see that unfold. Outside of his much beloved family, his clear next love was here, this club.
‘His love was valuable’
He just loved the joint so much, one of my most memorable games I played was his last game. There’s vision of that game readily showing over the last few days, at Whitten Oval. I will just never forget the emotion around that day. The day itself, the feeling that we had that day as players.
Particularly Loewy and I and Burkey. I just clearly remember thinking that footy won’t be the same again, running out with him that day. And I was just saddened for that two days and the week after it, thinking what are we going to do without Spud again to play alongside?
Just the laughs, the banter, the dinners, only the presence that only Spud can bring. It was never going to be there again. Unfortunately we are here again. But this is forever. When the old crew get together … and we drink beers, tell stories about times past. It has just changed forever now.
For the guys that told most of the stories, he just won’t be there. For the guys that most of the stories are about, he just won’t be there. For the guys that just made us laugh, he just won’t be there.
It’s a loss that can’t be fathom. It’s a loss that can’t be real, forever in our hearts, I love you mate.