The countdown to the second annual Spud’s Game is officially on, with the Saints and Movember revealing this year’s suite of ambassadors today.
Anita, Chelsea, Danielle and Keeley Frawley will this year be joined by Saints legend Nathan Burke, champion Tiger Matthew Richardson, history-making athlete Nova Peris, Dogs premiership hero Tom Boyd and current St Kilda players Max King and Olivia Vesely.
“Last year, at the inaugural Spud’s Game, we started a conversation which we have seen continue to flourish over the past twelve months,” St Kilda CEO Matt Finnis said.
“In an AFL first, we saw the footy world literally stand still to observe a spine-tingling and highly moving two-minute pre-game address from Garry Lyon, Stewart Lowe and Tony Lockett.
“To see mental health being featured in such a prominent, prime-time position was very powerful and something we as a club are extremely proud of.
“While it’s still a tightly guarded secret as to who will be addressing the players this year, I have no doubt it will again be a very meaningful moment.”
With the goal of exceeding last year’s fundraising total, Finnis says it has never been easier to contribute and make a tangible difference to the mental health of the community.
“A footy is symbolic of many things: mateship, connection, a shared passion. It’s different for every individual, just like mental health,” Finnis said.
“That’s why this year we’re introducing virtual footys as a way for people to donate to Spud’s Game and to help fund life-saving mental health and suicide prevention programs, delivered through the Danny Frawley Centre.
“The feedback from Saints fans last year was that 1 in 2 of them who either watched or attended Spud’s Game reached out to someone to check in on their wellbeing. That’s the stat that we’re proudest of, and we hope that through the purchasing and sharing of virtual footys that impact will be felt in the lead-up to and following game day.”
Virtual footys can be dedicated to loved ones, the community, friends doing it tough, teammates or to honour the legacy of the game’s namesake, Danny ‘Spud’ Frawley. They can also be customised to reflect each user’s specific connection to the cause.
“Our family has clearly been touched by mental health battles in a really significant way, but each story that connects to this cause will be different,” Chelsea Frawley said.
“There’s no wrong or right way to identify with this conversation. We’re just so glad that people are beginning to understand that there’s no shame in talking about mental health and in doing so, you could actually save the life of someone you love.”
Matthew Richardson was coached by Danny from 2000 to 2004 and says his impact remains today.
“I’m really proud to be involved with Spud’s Game and play my role in continuing Danny’s legacy,” Richardson said.
“Spud taught me so much while he was my coach, and his lessons often extended far beyond the footy field.
“I’ve been really impressed by the Saints and their commitment to improving mental health outcomes in the community and I’m excited to be part of raising much-needed funds so this work can continue and grow.”
Clinical psychologist and Movember Director of Mental Health Dr Zac Seidler said that the charity was honoured to be part of such a momentous match for mental health.
“The legacy of Danny “Spud” Frawley lives on by growing a community of Aussies equipped to look after a mate in crisis,” Seidler said.
“With almost 1 in 2 Aussies experiencing mental ill-health at some point in their life, there’s never been a better Time 2 Talk about mental health and suicide prevention.
“It’s about going beyond the banter, spotting the signs and then starting real dialogue about mental health.
“The funds raised during Spud’s Game will help us deliver life-saving mental health and suicide prevention programs through the Danny Frawley Centre.”
To kickstart the fundraising, St Kilda players presented the Frawley Family with a cheque for $10,000, thanks to the AFL Players Care Fund.
To make a donation or buy a virtual footy, visit www.movember.com/spud
Spud's Game will take place on Friday, 17 June against Essendon at Marvel Stadium.