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Heartbroken newsreader Neroli Meadows' voice cracks as she announces news of Danny Frawley's tragic death - before Tony Jones fights back tears and reveals what the St Kilda legend's final message would be

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 9/09/2019 Sahar Mourad

Video provided by NIne News

A heartbroken Neroli Meadows struggled to contain her emotion as she announced the tragic death of her colleague, AFL legend Danny 'Spud' Frawley.

The 56-year-old died on Monday when the ute he was driving hit a tree near Ballarat, Victoria, sending shockwaves through the football community.   

Meadows struggled to keep her composure as she announced the news on Fox Footy on Monday night. 

'Danny Frawley was a St Kilda legend who had an enormous impact on every player that followed the club,' she said as her voice cracked. 

'On a tough day, it's just a really sad day for everyone in footy but particularly at the St Kilda footy club.' 

a group of people posing for a photo: He leaves behind his wife Anita, and three daughters Chelsea, Keeley, and Danielle © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited He leaves behind his wife Anita, and three daughters Chelsea, Keeley, and Danielle a woman holding a black umbrella: 'On a tough day, it's just a really sad day for everyone in footy but particularly at the St Kilda footy club,' Neroli Meadows said © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited 'On a tough day, it's just a really sad day for everyone in footy but particularly at the St Kilda footy club,' Neroli Meadows said

Frawley, who leaves behind his wife Anita and three daughters Chelsea, Keeley, and Danielle, was the only person in the car.  

Meadows noted Frawley left a significant mark on everyone who followed the game, particularly when he opened up about his mental illness. 

'Away from being incredibly entertaining and a brilliant player, he also left his mark away from footy, opening up about the importance of mental health and starting some really important conversations,' she said. 

a group of people posing for a photo: He leaves behind his wife Anita, and three beautiful daughters Chelsea, Keeley, and Danielle

He leaves behind his wife Anita, and three beautiful daughters Chelsea, Keeley, and Danielle
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Nine News host Tony Jones also broke down as he recalled working with Frawley and the life he lived. 

'As we stand here today and reflect on the life of Danny Frawley, he will be remembered as that knockabout country kid,' he said.   

Jones said Frawley did so much for the game and his death was a 'terrible terrible loss' because he had so much more to give. 

'I personally would like to express my sympathies to Anita Frawley and his daughters and we can only wish the Frawley family somehow get through this,' he said, fighting back tears. 

'The one thing Danny would say at the moment is: ''Righto chomp, get on with it because there are some footy finals to deal with''.'  

a tree on the side of a road: Frawley was killed when a car hit a tree near Gordon, 20km east of Ballarat, Victoria, at 1.30pm © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Frawley was killed when a car hit a tree near Gordon, 20km east of Ballarat, Victoria, at 1.30pm

Frawley, nicknamed Spud because he grew up on a potato farm, played 240 games for St Kilda before coaching Richmond to the 2001 preliminary final.

He was St Kilda's longest serving captain until Nick Riewoldt eclipsed his record in 2014. 

He later commentated the AFL for Triple M, Fox Sports, SEN and the Nine Network - as well as work part-time as a defensive coach with his beloved Saints. 

Following his playing career, Frawley coached Richmond for five years until 2004, before becoming the chief executive of the AFL Coaches' Association.

His term there coincided with the turmoil of the Essendon supplements saga and it took a toll on his mental health.

'I wasn't in a position to deal with any of that,' he told a Herald Sun podcast in August.

a close up of a map: The 56-year-old died when the ute he was driving hit a tree near Gordon, 20km east of Ballarat, about 1.30pm on Monday © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The 56-year-old died when the ute he was driving hit a tree near Gordon, 20km east of Ballarat, about 1.30pm on Monday a group of people in a park: Frawley's car was found badly damaged and in a dent as emergency services investigate © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Frawley's car was found badly damaged and in a dent as emergency services investigate

'It did my head in eventually. It was something in my psyche, maybe from the Richmond days, not playing in a final, all those things built up to a tipping point.'

St Kilda President, Andrew Bassat remembered Frawley as one of the club's 'greatest players'.  

'We are incredibly saddened by Danny's death,' he said.

'Our thoughts are with Anita, and daughters Chelsea, Keeley and Danielle, and we will do whatever we can to support them in the days, weeks and months ahead.

'He was a larger-than-life character, a generous and warm personality, and a favourite son who has left an indelible mark on St Kilda.

'Danny was an active member of our Past Players' Committee and a much-loved champion to our thousands of supporters.

'We share our grief with them and we will endeavor to provide an opportunity for them to share their own personal tributes in the coming days.'

Danny Frawley sitting at a table in a restaurant: Frawley coached Richmond from 2000 to 2004, and worked with Hawthorn and St Kilda before becoming a commentator © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Frawley coached Richmond from 2000 to 2004, and worked with Hawthorn and St Kilda before becoming a commentator a person smiling for the camera: Frawley played 240 games for St Kilda and was the club's longest serving captain until Nick Riewoldt eclipsed his record in 2014 © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Frawley played 240 games for St Kilda and was the club's longest serving captain until Nick Riewoldt eclipsed his record in 2014

Frawley was also an original member of the Bounce team, on Foxtel, a show that has been on air for 13 years. 

Foxtel's CEO and Head of Fox Sports Peter Campbell remembered Frawley as 'a leader' who always gave fans a laugh.  

'The Fox Sports family, and particularly Fox Footy, today lost one of its own – a leader, a man of incredible passion, insight and love for his family and for his game, AFL,' he said. 

'Our deepest love and wishes go to wife Anita and their three daughters Chelsea, Danielle, and Keeley and to his many teammates, both in front and behind the camera. 

'Danny gave us so many laughs and magic moments, from his playing days at St Kilda, coaching at Richmond and then his gifted touches at Fox Footy, as late as Saturday night on his favourite program, Bounce.'

a man with a football ball: Superintendent Jenny Wilson said this horrific accident is 'tragic' for the community © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Superintendent Jenny Wilson said this horrific accident is 'tragic' for the community

On the outside Frawley was a fun-loving commentator and media personality.

He once said he realised depression is a mental illness, not a weakness, and hoped the stigma around mental health issues would be removed.

His Fox Footy colleague and close friend Gerard Healy said Frawley was 'a decent man above all else'.

'Spud did it all. Post his football days be became a big personality in the media,' Healy told 3AW.

'[He was] always happy to play the clown but at his very core he was a serious football person.

'Most importantly, Danny was a devoted husband to Anita, a very, very proud father to Chelsea, to Danielle and to Keeley. Girls, we can't possibly know your pain or devastation or the loss you feel right now.

'But do know this: We loved and admired your dad for being a very decent man above all else.'

Danny Frawley holding a sign posing for the camera: The much loved footy commentator (left) has previously opened up about his depression after suffering a nervous breakdown © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The much loved footy commentator (left) has previously opened up about his depression after suffering a nervous breakdown

Danny Frawley's AFL career  

Frawley played 240 games for St Kilda before coaching Richmond to the 2001 preliminary final.

He was St Kilda's longest serving captain until Nick Riewoldt eclipsed his record in 2014. 

He later commentated the AFL for Triple M, Fox Sports, SEN and the Nine Network - as well as work part-time as a defensive coach with his beloved Saints. 

Following his playing career, Frawley coached Richmond for five years until 2004, before becoming the chief executive of the AFL Coaches' Association

Pictures: Pictures: People we lost in 2019

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