"He gave Jac a punch in the arm and said 'you're good enough if you want it, you've just got to do the work'."Jason Mifsud
Former south-west football identity Jason Mifsud had to pull over while driving when he heard about the death of Danny Frawley.
"It absolutely floored me," Mifsud said.
He said he was struggling to come to terms with the loss of the man who would usually be the one comforting others in the wake of a tragedy.
"Danny is the guy who would be rallying everyone together," Mifsud said.
He said Frawley was selfless with his time and advice to young players.
When Mifsud was drafted to St Kilda, Frawley went out of his way to make him feel welcome.
"He was a revered figure - he was the glue amongst the club to be honest," he said.
Mifsud said the last time he spoke to Frawley was several months ago.
His son Jacquin Mifsud, 18, is a member of the St Kilda Next Generation Academy and Frawley offered him some advice. "He gave Jac a punch in the arm and said 'you're good enough if you want it, you've just got to do the work'."
Mifsud said Frawley was an incredibly authentic and genuine person. "He always used to talk about being the boy from Bungaree and had a fierce sense of pride and accomplishment."
Mifsud said he hoped Frawley's willingness to open up about his battle with depression would encourage others to seek help. "For Danny to show the vulnerability he has in the last year or so will be his greatest legacy - particularly to rural men who we know have a high incident of mental health issues," he said.
Champion Brisbane Lions footballer and South Warrnambool export Jonathan Brown recalled meeting Frawley years ago at a junior football clinic.
He remembered chatting to Frawley after he coached the Vic Country team, which featured Koroit's Sam Dobson, earlier this year.
Frawley suggested they needed an appointment with AFL chief Gillon McLachlan about showcasing country football skills in curtain-raisers.
"My first memory of Spud was with Roosy when they used to go around Victoria and do the Victorian super clinics," he said on Fox Footy.
"Coming to the ground and seeing Spud, and then 20 years later I was doing the same thing with him, when we were going around country Victoria on the Toyota regional bus tours.
"I looked at those kids and I thought, I saw myself in those kids. I thought, 20 years ago I was doing that.
"And Spud's still bringing a smile to these kids' faces. He was just so infectious."
Four-time Warrnambool premiership coach Grant Thomas said Frawley was a devoted father to his three adult daughters.
They attended the same school in Brighton as his children.
He said Frawley was a country boy at heart who loved the game of footy for the camaraderie.
Former St Kilda player Leon Harris, who grew up in Mortlake, said Frawley was a gentle man who loved family above all else.
"He was a fantastic person who wore his heart on his sleeve," Harris said.
"He was tough, he was hard, he was an outstanding footballer."
Beyond Blue chairman and former premier Jeff Kennett said he was feeling "overwhelming sadness for Anita and his family and a wide circle of friends, both in sport and the media".
"He did (come to talk to me about his depression) a couple of years ago and he has been struggling for a number of years as he himself has admitted," Mr Kennett said.
"But ... he always, when he could, put on a brave face."
Frawley died in a single-car crash near Ballarat on Monday. The death has not been included in the state's road toll, suggesting police are not treating it as an accident.
- If you or anyone you know needs support: Beyond Blue 1300 224 636. Lifeline: 13 11 14.
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