The Australian football world is in mourning once more with the sad news that former player and coach and current media personality Danny "Spud" Frawley was killed Monday afternoon in a car crash. He was driving alone when his car hit a tree just east of his hometown of Ballarat (72 miles northwest of Melbourne). Frawley, who had just turned 56 on Sunday, was a much-loved personality in the football world, the media and the broader community. Several years ago, he opened up about his struggles with depression and worked in the community to urge others to seek help. He co-hosted a show on SEN Radio entitled No Man Should Ever Walk Alone which addressed men's mental health issues and advised callers where they could go for help for themselves or loved ones.
Most of the players who made up the Grand Final teams in 1966 would be unfamiliar to fans of today. However, there were some whose names would be known to even the most casual fans of the game.
There was drama even before the game. Star forward Darrel Baldock suffered a bad knee strain several weeks before the Grand Final and, unknown to the media or fans, further aggravated it during the team's final training session before the big game. Coach Allan Jeans called an immediate halt to the training session but did it in a manner which concealed the truth from the reporters.
In 1966 the Magpies and Saints, like the teams of today, had a host of stars. Collingwood had Des Tuddenham, Len Thompson and Ray Gabelich to name a few. Tuddenham was captain and Thompson would win the Brownlow Medal six years later. The Saints had Darrel Baldock in their forward line and young ruckman Carl Ditterich. Baldock debuted in 1962 and Ditterich a year later. Ian Stewart also debuted in 1963. All three would go on to become League and club legends.