Danny Frawley’s vision of a physical and mental health facility for the community has today been realised, with Stage 2 construction of the Danny Frawley Centre (DFC) coming to a head.

The state-of-the-art centre named in honour of the late Saints champion will ensure St Kilda Football Club can continue its important work in mental health and wellbeing for the local community.

The final stage of the redevelopment delivered new mindfulness rooms, consulting suites and a community gym that will be used by the club and the local community and allow the centre to offer expanded services, including DFC Psychology – run in partnership with Monash University’s Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health – within the next 12 months.


“We are immensely proud to open Stage 2 of the Danny Frawley Centre,” St Kilda CEO Simon Lethlean said.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen the centre find its place in our community and we can’t wait to watch that continue to grow through the use of the additional facilities.”

After more than a year of operation, the centre has already become an important institution in Melbourne’s south for mental health and wellbeing, including launching a research project on athlete mental fitness.

“As we head into our second year now and have this building fully complete, it gives us the true opportunity to really accelerate our impact and be even more impactful for our community,” DFC Executive Director Kirstan Corben said.

“Most excitingly is the space around mental fitness and the opportunity to coach people around that. We know we need to educate people and to treat people when they are affected by their challenges, but we think we can change the game by getting into that middle space and helping everyone understand how they can build their mental fitness.”

Around $1 million of the State Government’s investment went towards helping establish early intervention mental health programs at the centre. The project also received $8.5 million from the Federal Government.

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Steve Dimopoulos toured the site with the Frawley family to see the completed facilities, which were made possible thanks to $7.3 million in funding from the State Government.

“Danny Frawley was an icon on the field and became even more influential off it, helping Victorians talk about mental illness and reducing its stigma,” he said.

“The Danny Frawley Centre will welcome members of the local community and also support athletes who play for the club.”

Frawley’s legacy will resonate through the AFL world once again through this year’s Spud’s Game: A Match for Mental Health, which was today confirmed by St Kilda CEO Simon Lethlean to take place in Round 15 match on Friday 23 June.

An icon of the St Kilda Football Club, ‘Spud’ played 240 games for the Saints from 1984-1995, captaining the side for 177 games to close out his career as a member of the club’s Hall of Fame.

Outside of football, Frawley became a passionate advocate for mental health and research, becoming one of the first players to disclose his mental health struggles which helped destigmatise the issue and helped support others to speak up about their own battles.

Now, his legacy lives on stronger than ever through both Spud’s Game and the DFC, both named in his honour.

“I think what’s stood out for me today is the mental fitness aspect, I think Danny would absolutely love that,” Anita Frawley said.

“Applying the physical fitness regime it to the mental side and bringing it all together is just so critical.

“The pure joy that he would have makes it easier to bear.”