Danny Frawley

Daniel Patrick Frawley (8 September 1963 – 9 September 2019) was an Australian rules football player, coach, administrator, commentator and media personality. 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. Frawley coached Richmond for five seasons from 2000 until 2004, including to a preliminary final in 2001. He later was chief executive of the AFL Coaches Association. As a media personality, Frawley contributed as special commentator for Nine Network, Triple M, 1116 SEN and Fox Footy; he was also co-host of the Fox Footy program Bounce.

Danny Frawley
Frawley at a pre-season match in March 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, Australia
Date of death 9 September 2019(2019-09-09) (aged 56)
Place of death Millbrook, Victoria, Australia
Original team(s) Bungaree
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)
Coaching career
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
2000–2004 Richmond 113 (45–68–0)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1995.
Career highlights



Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com

Football career

Frawley was recruited from Ballarat after attending St Patrick's College, Ballarat. He worked as a potato farmer in Bungaree, which led to his nickname of "Spud". He 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.[2] He was the longest serving captain of the St Kilda Football Club.[3] He was inducted into the Saints' hall of fame in 2007.[4]

Coaching career

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.[5] Under Frawley, the club moved to fourth on the ladder and their first preliminary final since 1995.[6] 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.[7] and finished 13th.[8]

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.[9] Richmond lost their last 14 matches of the season.[7] 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.[10]

After leaving coaching, Frawley was a special commentator for Triple M.[11] 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.[9] Later, and until 2018, Frawley was a part-time specialist defence coach at the St Kilda Football Club.[2][12]

As commentator

Before his coaching career, Frawley had been 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.[13] 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.[14]

Personal life and death

Frawley was nicknamed "Spud", as he grew up on a potato farm at Bungaree, 15 kilometres east of Ballarat, and had spent his early days as a potato farmer.[2][6] He was married to Anita Frawley, who was a host of the Fox Footy Channel's Living with Footballers show.[15] They had three daughters. His brother, Tony Frawley,[16] was the CEO of AFL Northern Territory for 10 years up until 2015, the governing body of the Northern Territory Football League competition.[17]

Frawley was the nephew of former Collingwood player Des Tuddenham[18] and the uncle of current Hawthorn player James Frawley.[19]

On 9 September 2019, a day after his 56th birthday, Frawley died in a car crash in Millbrook, Victoria.[13][20] 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.[21][22] He was the only person in the car at the time and died at the scene of the crash.[6] Victoria Police is treating his death as a suicide, pending the outcome of a coronial inquest.[23]


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.[24] The Melbourne Storm and Canberra Raiders also observed a moment of silence for Frawley before their NRL qualifying final at AAMI Park.[25] 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.[26]

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[27]

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.[28]

A private but broadcast memorial was held for Frawley, followed by the hearse travelling to Moorabbin Oval for a lap of honour.[29]


  1. Hobbs, Greg (1993). "Spot On Spud". AFL Record (Round 15): 10–11. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  2. CNN, Aimee Lewis. "Danny Frawley, 'larger than life' AFL great, dies in car crash". CNN. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  3. "Hall of Fame: Danny Frawley". Archived from the original on 19 September 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2009.
  4. "Saints Hall of Fame list". Archived from the original on 6 April 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2009.
  5. "AFL Tables - 2001 Season Scores". afltables.com. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  6. Valencich, Glenn (9 September 2019). "Danny Frawley: St Kilda AFL great killed in car crash outside Ballarat". 7NEWS.com.au. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  7. "AFL Tables - Danny Frawley - Coaching Record". afltables.com. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  8. "AFL Tables - 2003 Season Scores". afltables.com. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  9. 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.
  10. "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.
  11. "Triple M team". Archived from the original on 27 February 2011.
  12. "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.
  13. "Footy personality dead after Victorian car crash". News.com.au. 9 September 2019. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  14. No Man Should Ever Walk Alone with Danny Frawley 1116 SEN
  15. Sporting Life Archived 8 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine; The Age; 16 July 2003
  16. Booth, Ross (5 June 2005). "Win keeps Tigers on top". Sunday Age. p. 30. In other news, North Ballarat general manager Tony Frawley, brother of former Richmond coach Danny Frawley, has been appointed chief executive officer with AFL Northern Territory, starting at the end of next month.
  17. "AFLNT boss calls it quits". ntnews.com.au. 11 August 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  18. Baum, Greg (14 November 2009). "Coaches captivate with salt-of-the-earth yarns". The Age. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  19. "Frawley duo set for family reunion". www.heraldsun.com.au. 15 November 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  20. Hope, Zach (9 September 2019). "AFL legend Danny Frawley killed in crash near Ballarat". The Age. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  21. Kirkham, Rochelle; Gliddon, Greg (9 September 2019). "Danny Frawley death: AFL legend dies in crash near Gordon". The Courier. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  22. Batty, Belinda (9 September 2019). "Driver dies following Millbrook crash". Victoria Police. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  23. Le Grand, Chip; Eddie, Rachel (16 September 2019). "Anita Frawley releases emotional statement about Danny's death". The Age. Nine Entertainment Co. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  24. AFL Statement - Danny Frawley tribute Australian Football League
  25. A moment of silence for Danny Frawley in the NRL, awesome stuff. The Footy Show (AFL) on Twitter
  26. 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)
  27. Whateley Full Show – 10 September 2019 SEN 1116
  28. Triple M/SEN The Rub Special Announcement Triple M Melbourne on Twitter
  29. "Hundreds gather say final goodbye to AFL great Danny Frawley", Nine Network News on YouTube