NT News

Game on for top tribute

- GLENN MCFARLANE

ST KILDA will honour Danny Frawley’s legacy with an annual tribute match — Spud’s Game: Time 2 Talk — that it hopes will help tackle the stark rise of mental health issues in the community.

The Saints will use their Round 2 game — signifying the No. 2 guernsey Frawley (pictured) wore for most of his 240 games with the club from 1984 to 1995 — against Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on March 27 to celebrate his huge contributi­on to the club and the game.

But it will also acknowledg­e his tireless work in trying to destigmati­se mental health issues, following his own battles, which played a role in his shock death — at 56 — in September 2019.

St Kilda wants to start a broader conversati­on about mental health, with the Time 2 Talk message encouragin­g people to reconnect with and open up to family and friends. St Kilda chief executive Matt Finnis said the club wanted to mark Frawley’s contributi­on with something tangible with ongoing benefits.

The club is currently building the $16m Danny Frawley Centre for Health and Wellbeing at Moorabbin to provide facilities for thousands in the community.

“Spud was a giant of St Kilda, but he transcende­d the Saints,” Finnis said. “This is a chance for the broader football-loving public and the entire community to take a moment and remember him, but more importantl­y to reach

out to someone they might want to check in on. It is one thing to remember Spud, but to honour him properly, we need to bring about change.”

Frawley’s wife, Anita, said the club’s willingnes­s to tackle one of the most pressing challenges in society would provide an ongoing tribute.

“This (concept) means the world to our family,” Anita Frawley said. “We know this will help to improve the lives of Australian­s living with or supporting someone who suffers from mental ill-health.

“Danny would be so proud to have a mental health game in his honour. He spoke openly about his struggles in the hope he could encourage others to do the same.”

On the night there will be a series of videos from those closest to Frawley, celebratin­g his life but also encouragin­g people to check in on their family and friends.

RUGBY Australia has approved plans to seek an injection of private equity, which chairman Hamish McLennan said had the potential to spark “an incredibly exciting period” for the cash-strapped game.

While private investment deals have occurred in European rugby, and New Zealand Rugby is exploring alternativ­e funding sources, the concept is new for Australia.

“The RA board met last week and has approved a pathway forward to private equity proposals,” McLennan said, in comments that an RA official confirmed yesterday.

“We are tidying up loose ends with potential advisers and this will have the potential to chart an incredibly exciting period for rugby in Australia.”

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