Tony Lockett ends 21-year exile in touching tribute to Danny Frawley

Garry Lyon, Tony Lockett and Stewart Loewe, pictured here pausing to remember Danny Frawley.
Garry Lyon, Tony Lockett and Stewart Loewe pause to remember Danny Frawley. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Tony Lockett made his first appearance at a St Kilda game in 21 years on Saturday night to pay his respects to late mate and former teammate Danny Frawley.

There were emotional scenes before St Kilda's clash with Melbourne at Marvel Stadium as both teams and a number of AFL greats gathered in the centre square to talk about Frawley's legacy.

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The St Kilda legend took his own life in the single-car crash the day after his birthday in September 2019.

He was later diagnosed with CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which is associated with repeated blows to the head and can only be diagnosed after death.

Saturday night’s game was called 'Spud’s Game: Time 2 Talk', aimed at tackling mental health issues within the AFL and encouraging more dialogue around the issue.

Frawley's wife and daughters were all in attendance, while AFL greats Garry Lyon and Stuart Loewe spoke to the crowd.

“It’s a time to talk,” Lyon said. “If you’ve got an issue at home, if you’ve got a problem, if you think there’s something that needs to be said - we are encouraging you tonight to talk, and that’s what Spud would have wanted you to do.”

Lockett, who has spent the majority of his retirement avoiding the public spotlight, ended a 21-year exile to support the cause.

The St Kilda and Sydney Swans legend said he hadn’t been to a Saints game in Melbourne since 2000, but knew he had to be present for such an important message.

“Like everyone here, I loved the bloke. He was just fantastic,” Lockett said.

“It’s great the AFL and the club now have put together this game and we really need to make the most of it for Danny’s sake.

“He’s an icon of the AFL industry, he’s loved by everyone ... everyone loves Spud.

“His message is very clear and we need to take that and take some real positive stuff out of it now.

“It is time to talk.”

Garry Lyon, Tony Lockett and Stewart Loewe, pictured here addressing players and the crowd.
Garry Lyon, Tony Lockett and Stewart Loewe address players and the crowd in honour of Danny Frawley. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Tony Lockett's message to St Kilda players

Lockett addressed St Kilda players in the change-rooms before the game.

“As we know tonight is a very special night for us St Kilda people. Tonight, we honour the great Danny Frawley,” Lockett said.

“It’s been 18 months now and it’s been a pretty tough 18 months for a lot of people.

“It’s a game that, we’re here to celebrate it, and it’s a game that’s pretty close to everyone’s hearts here at the footy club because he was a very special person.

“Not only a great player, great teammate, great captain, but more importantly a great person.

“Tonight is a real celebration in memory of Danny ... he was a great friend of mine and you guys should be really honoured tonight to be the first ones to play in the Danny Frawley tribute game.

“Let’s have a win for him, hey."

Unfortunately for the Saints it wasn't to be, the Demons winning 12.19 (91) to 11.7 (73).

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