Jack Sinclair says he will be doing everything possible to ensure he’s out in the middle for this year’s Spud’s Game at the MCG as he continues his recovery from a calf setback.

In its fourth iteration, Spud’s Game will debut on the big stage in 2024, with the marquee fixture relocating to the home of football for a Thursday night blockbuster in Round 2 against the reigning premiers, Collingwood.

Sinclair will miss at least this week’s upcoming AAMI Community Series game against North Melbourne at RSEA Park, and if not back in time for the Saints’ season opener next fortnight, is determined to crack back into the line-up for the following round’s prime-time headliner.

Spud's Game on the big stage

“I’m progressing really well. I think I’ll be there,” Sinclair said at today’s media opportunity at the Danny Frawley Centre.

“I’m tracking well so far and have ticked off everything. It’s still early days so obviously there’s a bit to work through and I’ve started ramping up my loads, but I’ve been running for the past few weeks.

“I’ve obviously missed a fair bit of training but my fitness hasn’t really been an issue. I’ll get another scan tomorrow just to check up on it and see how it’s all progressing, but from my perspective I’ll be there.

It’s been amazing to see the growth of this game. The way everyone has rallied around it in the past has been enormous, and I’ve got no doubt that’s going to happen again this year.

- Jack Sinclair

“With Round 1 there’s such a big build-up and you want to be there, but there’s a bunch of other games to get to. I’ve missed my fair share of Round 1 games over my career… mostly around non-selection!”

The announcement of this year’s Spud’s Game coincides with the official launch of the Club’s partnership with the Institute of Social Neuroscience (ISN).

Staffed by provisional psychologists undergoing their initial placement as part of their Master's or Doctoral degree program at ISN, a newly established clinic housed in the Danny Frawley Centre focuses on delivering top-tier, evidence-based interventions. 

The ISN Clinic and programs, which aim to cater for early intervention (including mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety) and preventative mental health needs, will allow services to be provided at low to no-cost for the community, while also addressing the nation-wide psychologist shortage.

“You don’t have to look too far to see mental health and its effects,” Sinclair said.

“We all know people who have been affected: guys at the footy club, guys I used to play with and obviously Spud as well. 

“A lot of us have great memories of him and how he was such a great character and amazing St Kilda person. We’ve got Robert Harvey even telling us stories about him from back in the day.

“We’re not short of motivation. I don’t think we’ve won (a Spud’s Game) yet, but it’s an awesome occasion to be a part of, and to have Chelsea (Frawley) here and see the family around here regularly is special.”

Jack Sinclair and Dan McStay at the 2024 launch of Spud's Game at the Danny Frawley Centre. Photo: AFL Photos.

After hanging up the boots in 1995, Frawley spent four seasons at Collingwood as an assistant coach; a time which eldest daughter and Danny Frawley Centre Head of Community and Operations, Chelsea Frawley, says he greatly enjoyed.

Now, to have the game named in his honour - moved to the biggest stage in football against the Magpies in 2024 - is something Chelsea is confident that her late father would barely be able to contain.

“I don’t think his head could get any bigger, but I think it probably would explode if he knew it was Thursday night against Collingwood! He would be so ecstatic,” Frawley said.

“As a family, we’re so thankful to the Saints for giving us the platform of Spud’s Game to promote what we’re doing at the Centre.

“All the programs (run at the Danny Frawley Centre) - although they’re early intervention and prevention - we’re just so passionate about to make sure that no one has to go through what we did five years ago.”