Danny Frawley

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Danny Frawley
Danny Frawley 04.03.17 (cropped 2).jpg
Frawley during a pre-season match in 2017
Personal information
Full name Daniel Patrick Frawley
Nickname(s) Spud
Date of birth (1963-09-08)8 September 1963
Place of birth Ballarat, Victoria
Date of death 9 September 2019(2019-09-09) (aged 56)
Place of death Millbrook, Victoria
Original team(s) Bungaree (CHFL)
Debut Round 4, 1984, St Kilda
vs. Hawthorn, at Princes Park
Height 191 cm (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 95 kg (209 lb)
Position(s) Full back
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1984–1995 St Kilda 240 (13)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
1987–1994 Victoria 11 (0)
International team honours
1987–1990 Australia 6 (2)
Coaching career
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
2000–2004 Richmond 113 (45–68–0)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of the 1995 season.
2 State and international statistics correct as of 1994.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com

Daniel Patrick Frawley (8 September 1963 – 9 September 2019) was an Australian rules football player, coach, administrator, commentator and media personality. He played 240 games for the St Kilda Football Club in the Victorian Football League (VFL)/Australian Football League (AFL) from 1984 to 1995, captaining the club for nine seasons, and won All-Australian selection and the St Kilda best and fairest award in 1988. Frawley coached the Richmond Football Club from 2000 to 2004, with his most successful season coming in 2001, when he coached Richmond to a preliminary final. He later served as chief executive officer of the AFL Coaches Association from 2008 to 2014 and had part-time roles with the Hawthorn Football Club and St Kilda.

Following his coaching career, Frawley was an AFL commentator for Fox Footy, Triple M and 1116 SEN, and also appeared on The Sunday Footy Show on the Nine Network. On television, he is best remembered for his work on the Fox Footy program Bounce, which he co-hosted alongside contemporary Jason Dunstall for over 350 episodes from 2007 to his death in 2019; on radio, he is best remembered for his work on Triple M, most notably his appearances on The Saturday Rub, from 2005 to 2016. Frawley quietly struggled with mental health problems throughout most of his time in football, but became more open in his later years, leading him to host his own podcast on SEN dedicated to mental health, No Man Should Ever Walk Alone, from 2017 to 2018.

Frawley died in a car crash in Millbrook, Victoria on 9 September 2019; his death devastated the wider football community, and led to tributes from footballers, coaches, media and fans alike, including a private but broadcast memorial service on 18 September.

Early life and family[edit]

Frawley was educated at St Patrick's College, Ballarat, and played country football for East Ballarat in the Ballarat Football League (BFL) and Bungaree in the Central Highlands Football League (CHFL).[1] He grew up and worked on a potato farm in Bungaree, which led to his nickname of "Spud".[1][2][3]

Frawley was the nephew of former Collingwood player Des Tuddenham[3][4] and the uncle of current Hawthorn player James Frawley.[3][5] His brother Tony was the chief executive officer of AFL Northern Territory from 2005 to 2015.[6]

VFL/AFL career[edit]

Frawley initially played as a forward but soon became a renowned full back.[1] He captained the St Kilda Football Club for nine seasons over his 240-game playing career from 1984 to 1995, was the club's best and fairest winner in 1988 and was named in the All-Australian team the same year. He was the longest serving captain of the St Kilda Football Club.[7] He was inducted into the Saints' hall of fame in 2007.[8]

Honours and achievements[edit]


Coaching career[edit]

Frawley became the senior coach of the Richmond Football Club in 2000. In his first year, Richmond just missed out of the finals by finishing ninth. In 2001, he took the Tigers into the finals where, in the preliminary finals, they were eliminated by the Brisbane Lions, who were the eventual premiers.[9] Under Frawley, the club moved to fourth on the ladder and their first preliminary final since 1995.[3] In 2002, however, Richmond struggled and finished 14th. This continued in 2003 when, after six wins and two losses to start to the season, they lost 13 of their next 14 matches.[10] and finished 13th.[11]

Richmond kept struggling and finished 16th (the "wooden spoon" position) in 2004. Midway through the season, Frawley announced that he would resign at the end of the season.[12] Richmond lost their last 14 matches of the season.[10] In 2008 and 2009, Frawley worked at Hawthorn as a part-time coach. He rejoined St Kilda as a back-line and key-position coach in November 2014.[13]

After leaving coaching, Frawley was a special commentator for Triple M.[14] In June 2006, he coached a winning Victorian state of origin side in the E. J. Whitten Legends Match and became the chief executive of the AFL Coaches Association.[12] Later, and until 2018, Frawley was a part-time specialist defence coach at the St Kilda Football Club.[2][15]

Media career and post-football[edit]

During his playing career, Frawley was a regular cast member on AFL Squadron alongside Garry Lyon. When he transitioned to being a commentator primarily, Frawley was a commentator for Fox Footy and was a co-host of Bounce with Jason Dunstall and Cameron Mooney, as well as a part of the 1116 SEN Footy team on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons.[2] Earlier in his career, he was also involved with the Nine Network and Triple M as a commentator and a regular co-host on The Saturday Rub.[16] He also hosted a Monday night show on SEN called No Man Should Ever Walk Alone on men's health topics including mental health, addiction and lifestyle.[17]

Personal life and death[edit]

Frawley was married to Anita,[2][3][16] who made regular appearances on the Fox Footy Channel program Living with Footballers.[18] They had three daughters.[2][3][16]

On 9 September 2019, a day after his 56th birthday, Frawley died in a car crash in Millbrook, Victoria.[16][19] The incident occurred shortly after 1:30 pm, when his car left the road and struck a tree on Old Melbourne Road between Ryans and Chapmans Roads.[20][21] He was the only person in the car at the time and died at the scene of the crash.[3] An examination of his brain found nearly a year later that Frawley had suffered from stage two chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated head injuries; his wife Anita said she had "strongly suspected there was more going on with Danny than straightforward depression".[22][23][24][25][26]


The AFL announced that a moment of silence would be observed in Frawley's honour before both semifinals the following weekend (Geelong vs. West Coast and Brisbane vs. Greater Western Sydney), with all four teams also wearing black armbands.[27] The Melbourne Storm and Canberra Raiders also observed a moment of silence for Frawley before their NRL qualifying final at AAMI Park.[28] AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan also revealed that it was being considered that the Golden Fist award, an award for best defender that Frawley had famously created on Bounce, should become an official AFL honour. A Change.org petition about the matter had garnered 33,000 signatures in less than 48 hours.[29]

Good morning. But it's not really. It's a time where we grapple and fumble around and search for a meaning that's not really there. It's an imprecise morning, one that we spend together and do our best.

Danny Frawley's death is a hammer blow to our community. Watching and reading and listening to all the reactions makes me think of the truism "The love you give is the love you get."

There's no solace at a time like this, but there is a collective embrace, and hopefully Anita and Chelsea, Danielle and Keeley can at least feel it. Danny was a great football person from the grassroots, to the top level. He belonged to many, from Bungaree to St Kilda and beyond.

In the media, he was a tremendous character, in the way that he gave of himself, to enhance your connection or enjoyment, and often at his own expense. He's done that for many years at Crocmedia and, in more recent times, on SEN. He maintained an infectious enthusiasm and vibrancy. It's the sort of thing people say, but you know that it's true, because you watched it and listened to it. When the footy got exciting, he was jumping, metaphorically and literally, all over the broadcast, and he could mangle the language in the most wonderful way. And I think he leaves us with "Yeah nah"...maybe it predates Danny, but he normalised it in our football world.

He was a latter day cyclist, in questionable Lycra, he was a hobby horse breeder, and he was an optimistic golfer. He was a friend to many, and I suspect you will feel that whether you knew him or not.

How footy touched his soul...well, that was evidence in the tears he shed for Teddy Whitten during that lap at the MCG, when he couldn't finish that famous induction speech for Tony Lockett and as he choked up honouring Trevor Barker just this year as he took his place in the Hall of Fame.

And now, those tears are for Spud.

[Plays When the Saints Go Marching In]

They play that in the terraces at St Kilda games, and I suspect the next time it's done, it'll have additional poignancy and carry the images...

Gerard Whateley opening Whateley on SEN the day after Frawley's death[30]

Both radio stations Frawley had worked at – Triple M and SEN – broadcast a special joint edition of The Saturday Rub in Frawley's honour, with his co-hosts James Brayshaw, Brian Taylor, Damian Barrett and Garry Lyon.[31]

A private but broadcast memorial was held for Frawley, followed by the hearse travelling to Moorabbin Oval for a lap of honour.[32]


  1. ^ a b c Hobbs, Greg (1993). "Spot On Spud". AFL Record (Round 15): 10–11. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Lewis, Aimee (9 September 2019). "Danny Frawley, 'larger than life' AFL great, dies in car crash". CNN. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Valencich, Glenn (9 September 2019). "Danny Frawley: St Kilda AFL great killed in car crash outside Ballarat". Seven News. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  4. ^ Baum, Greg (14 November 2009). "Coaches captivate with salt-of-the-earth yarns". The Age. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  5. ^ "Frawley duo set for family reunion". Herald Sun. 15 November 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  6. ^ "AFLNT boss calls it quits". Northern Territory News. 11 August 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Hall of Fame: Danny Frawley". Archived from the original on 19 September 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2009.
  8. ^ "Saints Hall of Fame list". Archived from the original on 6 April 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2009.
  9. ^ "AFL Tables - 2001 Season Scores". afltables.com. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  10. ^ a b "AFL Tables - Danny Frawley - Coaching Record". afltables.com. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  11. ^ "AFL Tables - 2003 Season Scores". afltables.com. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  12. ^ a b Robinson, Mark (14 April 2009). "Former Richmond coach Danny Frawley feels Terry Wallace's pain". The Courier Mail. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  13. ^ "Frawley ready for 'bumps in the road' after choosing St Kilda". afl.com.au. Archived from the original on 19 September 2018. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  14. ^ "Triple M team". Archived from the original on 27 February 2011.
  15. ^ "St Kilda Football Club Coaching Staff". saints.com.au. St Kilda Football Club. Archived from the original on 2 August 2015. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  16. ^ a b c d "Footy personality dead after Victorian car crash". News.com.au. 9 September 2019. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  17. ^ No Man Should Ever Walk Alone with Danny Frawley 1116 SEN
  18. ^ "Sporting Life". The Age. 16 July 2003.
  19. ^ Hope, Zach (9 September 2019). "AFL legend Danny Frawley killed in crash near Ballarat". The Age. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  20. ^ Kirkham, Rochelle; Gliddon, Greg (9 September 2019). "Danny Frawley death: AFL legend dies in crash near Gordon". The Courier. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  21. ^ Batty, Belinda (9 September 2019). "Driver dies following Millbrook crash". Victoria Police. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  22. ^ Canil, Jourdan (1 September 2020). "AFL responds after analysis reveals Danny Frawley had stage two CTE". afl.com.au. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  23. ^ Laughton, Max (1 September 2020). "Family of late AFL great Frawley reveals heartbreaking diagnosis". Fox Sports (Australia). Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  24. ^ McMurty, Andrew (1 September 2020). "AFL 2020: Sad detail about Danny Frawley's death revealed by wife". News.com.au. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  25. ^ Goodall, Hamish (1 September 2020). "Danny Frawley was suffering from head knock condition CTE when he died". Seven News. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  26. ^ "Danny Frawley was suffering from chronic brain disease when he died". The Age. 31 August 2020. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  27. ^ AFL Statement - Danny Frawley tribute Australian Football League
  28. ^ A moment of silence for Danny Frawley in the NRL, awesome stuff. The Footy Show (AFL) on Twitter
  29. ^ AFL boss Gillon McLachlan says "golden fist" award in Danny Frawley’s honour will be considered by Max Laughton and Sarah Olle Fox Sports (hosted by the Adelaide Advertiser)
  30. ^ Whateley Full Show – 10 September 2019 SEN 1116
  31. ^ Triple M/SEN The Rub Special Announcement Triple M Melbourne on Twitter
  32. ^ "Hundreds gather say final goodbye to AFL great Danny Frawley", Nine Network News on YouTube

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