James Frawley: how family made a premiership possible

Winning an AFL premiership is the stuff dreams are made of, and in that moment in 2015, it was looking at his family in the crowd that brought it home for Hawthorn defender James Frawley.

Frawley grew up on a spud farm in Bungaree in country Victoria, with his parents and three older sisters.

“Growing up on a farm they (his older sisters) picked on me (laughs)… they used to try to dress me up and I’d run away as fast as I could.”

He fondly remembers as a boy his mum taking him to footy games in nearby Ballarat.

“She was really great at driving me around to all the little games and training sessions and dad was there for all the finals and most games throughout the year,” he says. “It was freezing in Ballarat, probably three degrees and snowing, and they were there every week supporting you and helping you out in your development anyway they could.” 

It’s a commitment that’s stood the test of time for the Frawley family. His mum and dad regularly catch the train from Ballarat to Melbourne to watch their son play.

“They come to games and watch most weeks, catch a train down or stay at my sister’s house and we go out to dinner afterwards, it’s a pretty special time,” says Frawley. “Both my mum and dad love football, so they come down and watch as many games as they can.”

Footy runs in the Frawley family blood. Growing up they’d regularly travel to Melbourne to watch James’ uncle Danny Frawley play for St Kilda.

“We used to head down and make a good day of it,” he says. “It’s one of the main ways we’d bond as a family.”

James Frawley 1
And they still do. On the 3rd October 2015, when Hawthorn beat West Coast to win the Grand Final, it was seeing his family in the crowd that made this boyhood dream feel real.

“One of the highlights of winning the premiership I guess was when I was walking around the lap of honour and I saw dad with a tear in his eye, it made me a bit emotional,” he says. “I kept walking around and I saw my sister and her boyfriend and I had the cup in my hands and raised it to them and they loved it.”

“I went into the rooms and my family and my girlfriend was there and we had a moment together before all the media came in and we had a group hug and I kissed everyone individually,” says Frawley. “It was good to spend time with my family and my girlfriend, so that was one of the best things about winning the premiership.”

Family time is something Frawley holds dear. Despite having a large family, with distance between them, it’s important to him to spend time together wherever he can.

“Keeping a good relationship with my sisters and mum and dad is pretty high on my list of priorities,” says Frawley. “Just going out to dinner and sitting around and talking are some of the best times I think.”

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