The late Danny Frawley.
The late Danny Frawley.

Saints to honour favourite son Frawley with tribute match

ST KILDA will honour its late champion Danny Frawley with a special tribute match next year.

While the Saints are still working through the details of how best to pay tribute to one of their favourite sons, the Herald Sun understands the round two fixture with West Coast on March 29 looms as the most likely option.

That would be St Kilda's first home game of the 2020 season at Marvel Stadium, but the symmetry surrounding a round two tribute would sit perfectly with the No.2 jumper Frawley wore for most of his 240 games with the Saints.

"The club has been working on how best to honour Danny and those plans are likely to include a match dedicated to him at one of our early home games next season," St Kilda chief executive Matt Finnis said.

"Danny was a giant of our club and meant so much to our supporters. We want them to have an opportunity to pay tribute in their own way and celebrate his contribution to the club.

Danny Frawley's death led to an outpouring of grief in the AFL community. Picture: Mark Stewart
Danny Frawley's death led to an outpouring of grief in the AFL community. Picture: Mark Stewart

"We will work with Danny's wife Anita and daughters Chelsea, Keeley and Danielle on our plans before providing our supporters with more information."

Frawley's death in a car crash at Millbrook, near Ballarat, the day after his 56th birthday, shook the AFL world and impacted heavily on the St Kilda Football Club, its players, staff and supporters.

He was given an emotional send-off at his funeral at Moorabbin, where thousands of fans paid their respects.

St Kilda is likely to invite past teammates of Frawley to be part of the tribute game next year as well as work with the AFL and mental health bodies to use the game as an opportunity to continue Danny's advocacy.

The Saints held their annual general meeting at RSEA Park on Wednesday night, with coach Brett Ratten and president Andrew Bassat challenging all levels of the club to take the next step in 2020.

There is plenty of optimism around the club, given the recruitment of senior AFL players including Bradley Hill, Paddy Ryder, Dan Butler, Zak Jones and Dougal Howard.

St Kilda announced a small operating loss for 2019 last month after bringing forward some player payments following consultation with the AFL in relation to significant injury payments this year.

Danny ‘Spud’ Frawley loved a joke.
Danny ‘Spud’ Frawley loved a joke.

The club had been on track to record an operating profit of $383,208, but the decision to bring forward payments - believed to relate largely to Paddy McCartin's decision to step away from the game for 12 months - turned it into a small loss.

The 2019 loss - before interest, tax and depreciation - was $323,975, but Bassat and Finnis were confident of a much brighter 2020.

Membership fell to 43,000 this year off the back of a poor 2018, but a more competitive 2019 and the prospect of further improvement has the club confident it can reach 50,000 members in 2020.

The tally currently sits at 34,000 - a club record for this time of the year.

Importantly, the club has boosted football spend by $500,000 thanks to an increase in sponsorship revenue, putting it on a more equal footing with most of their AFL rivals.