NATHAN Burke, St Kilda Team of the Century member and great mate of Danny Frawley, will deliver this year’s on-ground address to players, spectators and TV viewers moments before the start of the now-annual Spud’s Game: Time 2 Talk.
With St Kilda and Essendon players alternating in a circle inside the Marvel Stadium centre square on Friday night before the start of their round 14 match, the normal 7.50pm start time will be delayed by two minutes, with Burke to honour the legacy of Frawley in urging everyone to check in with family, friends and acquaintances.
The three-time best-and-fairest winner and five-season captain of the Saints said it was a privilege to be able to continue the Frawley-instigated campaign to destigmatise mental health.
“'Spud' always made people feel as though they belonged and included, no matter who they were, and he wanted people to be aware that it was OK to be vulnerable, and it is very important we all attempt to continue with this,” Burke told AFL.com.au.
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“Spud’s Game is not just about St Kilda and Essendon, it is all of the AFL, it is all of society, it is a far greater issue, a far greater cause.
“The legacy of 'Spud' … it is up to each and every one of us to keep perpetuating this. Reach out to your mates at the footy, your mates at work, anyone you feel needs to hear from you. It is incumbent on all of us.”
Burke will be assisted in the pre-match address by Essendon great Tim Watson, who coached the Saints in 1999 and 2000.
Frawley, who died in 2019, spoke openly about his mental health and always encouraged people to talk to each other about their problems.
Spud’s Game: Time 2 Talk was launched in 2021, with Frawley’s family, wife Anita and daughters Chelsea, Danielle and Keeley hoping it can evolve into being a theme in all matches of a round of each AFL season.
It is a key part of Frawley’s legacy, which has also seen the St Kilda Football Club establish the Danny Frawley Centre at its Moorabbin headquarters. Monies raised from all initiatives attached to the initiative are pumped into mental health, suicide prevention and resilience programs run out of the DFC, which by the end of 2022 will have a high-tech recovery centre, gym, aquatic facilities, wellness hub, outdoor recreation centre and consulting suites for allied health practitioners.
As part of this year’s Spud’s Game, the Saints are encouraging people to “buy a virtual footy”, which can be done here.