Danny Frawley was such a good defender he had Luke Darcy dropped immediately after the Western Bulldogs ruck-forward made his debut.
But for his former teammate and close friend Michael Roberts, the ‘unmade bed’ that was ‘Spud’ Frawley when the potato farmer from near Ballarat made his way to St Kilda will stick in the memory.
In the video above: Tributes to Danny Frawley
Frawley died on Monday, a day after his 56th birthday, following a tragic car accident outside Ballarat.
His death has left the footy world in mourning but memories of Frawley’s energy and enthusiasm have brought smiles to faces around the country.
His tough and uncompromising play hasn’t been forgotten, either.
“I played my first ever game on Spud. I was dropped pretty quickly afterwards, fair to say,” Darcy said on Channel 7’s Talking Footy.
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“The ear massage was his trademark. It was fairly intimidating to play on the big spud farmer from Bungaree.
“That size – he was incredibly powerful, strong fullback. He was the heart and the face and the soul of St Kilda for so many years.”
Frawley became an All Australian defender during his remarkable stint as the Saints’ long-serving captain.
While he played on legends like Gary Ablett Sr, Wayne Carey and his future television sparring partner Jason Dunstall, teammates had very different experiences that somehow weren’t too dissimilar.
“Whenever he was short for a word, he always got physical with you,” Roberts said.
“I laugh at that so many times because he was no good on a computer but he was so hands-on and that’s why he was a true leader in so many ways. ‘I’ll burst through the banner, I’ll go and do it, you follow me.’
“Not much is written on leadership, we don’t know too much about it, but Spud was born that way and it was his way whether it was right or wrong, and he made sure it was.
“That’s why became captain of St Kilda and a long-serving one, just like (Trevor Barker) was, but in a different way.”
In the video below: Danny Frawley’s Saints career
Roberts was in his last years at the Saints when Frawley made his way over to the club.
While it’s fair to say the spud farmer had a lot to learn, he also made a lasting impression.
“He was an unmade bed, seriously. He was the bottom of a parrot cage,” Roberts said.
“He had his jumper out, he was sloppy, he was messy, he walked into the gym at Brighton baths and all his gear was all over the place so you knew that Danny Frawley was in the joint.”
Watch the full tribute segment below