Months before Danny Frawley’s death the AFL legend gave a heartbreaking insight into the extent of his personal struggle.
The much-loved AFL figure, who bravely spoke out in recent years about his mental health issues, died on Monday when the ute he was driving hit a tree near Ballarat.
No one else was in the car at the time.
Well known for his exploits on the field, then as a coach and media personality, the larger-than-life character became a strong advocate for mental health issues when he revealed his own battle with depression.
He hosted a radio show on SEN about men’s health and it was there that he made a heartbreaking revelation about the depths of his struggle.
Speaking to organisational psychologist Peter Zarris earlier this year, Frawley opened up about not feeling worthy enough.
“Dramatic changes in mood and behaviour, that was me. Isolation, I craved it,” Frawley said.
“Guys would text me, say they’d come around, because they knew I was battling a bit. I’d text them ‘come around’ and I’d actually pull the shutters down on the blinds.
“For some reason I didn’t feel I was worthy enough.
“It was all what people thought of me, that’s what drove me.
“I can remember going to functions and not even having conversations with people — I don’t know whether I was just walking around like a peacock — but it was all about what people thought of me.
“But at the end of the day, it was what I thought about me.”
Saints mourn Frawley at end-of-season awards
Two days after one of the Saints' most loved figures died, their awards evening opened with speeches and a video package honouring Frawley.
Fellow St Kilda stars Stewart Loewe and Robert Harvey choked on emotion as they remembered Frawley, who died the day after his 56th birthday.
After their speeches and the video tribute, fellow former Saints Nathan Burke and Michael Roberts had the audience roaring with laughter as they told stories about the Bungaree potato farmer and former St Kilda captain universally known as "Spud".
Loewe said when he was asked on Tuesday to pay tribute to Frawley, he was still in shock.
"What would Spud want? The answer was pretty obvious - put your suit on, roll up your sleeves and get the bloody job done. That's just who he was," Loewe said.
"(Former coach) Kenny Sheldon mentioned something yesterday that resonated .... he described 'Spud' as the glue that held everything together at St Kilda.
"He was one of my best mates and he will always be my hero,."
Harvey remembered that Chelsea, one of Frawley's three daughters, was a flower girl at his and Danielle's wedding more than two decades ago when she was three.
"Outside of his much-beloved family, his clear next love was here, at this club," said Harvey, now an assistant coach at Collingwood.
Harvey remembered playing in Frawley's last AFL game and sadly thinking that football would not be the same without him as a teammate.
"Well unfortunately we're here again, but this is forever," Harvey said.
"When the old crew get together ... and we drink beers and tell stories about times past, it's just changed forever now.
"It's a loss that just can't be fathomed, it's a loss that just can't be real."