- Aug 17, 2015
- AFL Club
- St Kilda
- Other Teams
- PHL Eagles, Liverpool Panathinaikos
Danny Frawley’s widow, Anita, says one of the St Kilda champion’s greatest legacies will be to “make a difference” for those battling mental health issues.
Mrs Frawley revealed plans for a new $16m Danny Frawley Centre for Health and Wellbeing at the Moorabbin headquarters of his beloved Saints.
“Danny just wanted to help people. He suffered so much, and for this centre to come through is just incredible,” Mrs Frawley said, speaking publicly for the first time since his September 2019 death.
“Even though he’s not here, he will make a difference.”
Frawley was a fierce advocate for mental health awareness, talking openly about his own struggles in the hope of inspiring others to seek help.
The centre to be named in his honour, featuring classroom spaces, consultation suites and breakout areas in the Moorabbin grandstand and aquatic facility, will open to the local community in late 2021.
“This is just so powerful and we are so incredibly proud,” Mrs Frawley said, flanked by two of their three daughters, Chelsea and Danielle. Their third child, Keeley, is studying in the US.
“Moorabbin was his home, that’s what the girls and I always thought anyway, he spoke about it so proudly.
“His famous quote about ‘manning up’ is just so relevant and this centre will help bring it all to fruition.
“His footy achievements were incredible, but this, in time, will really stand as his legacy. Everyone knows how passionate he was about mental health.
“He wanted people who were suffering, men especially, to speak up and just talk about it and be listened to.”
Mrs Frawley said the 14 months since Frawley’s passing had been “incredibly hard” for the family.
“You wouldn’t wish it on anyone,” she said.
“It’s my passion and my daughters’ as well, to try and offer support to others, and this centre for anyone that has got a mental illness, it’s just exactly what we need.
“You take one step forward and two back. Most people who have been in the situation we have been in, that’s what they say — you sort of start to climb out, but grief is insurmountable.
“But the support we have been given has been amazing.”
The Herald Sun revealed in September Frawley was suffering Stage II CTE — a crippling neurological disorder linked to repeated head knocks — when his four-wheel drive struck a tree in Millbrook, near Ballan, on September 9 last year.
The federal government will pour $8.5m into the Moorabbin project and the Andrews government $7.3m.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said: “Spud Frawley was a legend of the game, respected as much for his achievements on the field, as for his wit, humour and good nature off the field.
“This facility will not only honour his memory, but be a lasting legacy, helping people of all ages, improve their physical and mental health.”
Sport Minister Martin Pakula said: “Danny Frawley was an inspirational Victorian on and off the field, and helped many people through his efforts to promote awareness of mental health issues.
“The establishment of this centre is a fitting acknowledgment of his work and his standing in the community – and will provide an enduring legacy.”
St Kilda chief executive Matt Finnis, who drove the concept, said “the key strengths of the Frawley Centre will be it’s integration of physical and mental health facilities and services but also the fact that community members will directly engage with experts in their field and programs which cater for at-risk groups and individuals.
“It’s not just about current and former players. It’s about their families and the broader community. I know Danny would be really proud of that.”
Frawley played 240 games for the Saints, 177 of them as captain, and was inducted into St Kilda’s Hall of Fame in 2007.