Danny Frawley admits his relationship with Alastair Clarkson hit a low around six years ago.
The St Kilda great spent time as a specialist defensive coach under Clarkson at Hawthorn before moving into the role of AFL Coaches Association CEO.
It was during the Essendon supplements saga when the friendship with Clarkson broke down, coinciding with Frawley’s own mental health issues.
Speaking on the In The Game podcast, Frawley gave some insight into how things soured with the four-time premiership coach.
“It was when the Essendon scenario came on in early 2013,” he told Damian Barrett.
“I was in the media at that stage in 2008 and funnily enough, I did some part-time work with Alastair and he wanted me as a full-time coach even though they had won the flag in 2008.”
Frawley added: “When the Essendon thing came to the surface, (on) a lot of people there was a lot of residue, and there was no more than me. At exactly the same time, my media role was getting bigger and my work ethic as CEO of the Coaches Association wasn’t where he (Clarkson) thought (it should be).
“He and Horse (John Longmire) and Rossy Lyon decided to have a review, which I called at the AGM, and that’s when my life totally came out of control. I’m not saying it was the tipping point, but if it wasn’t that it was going to be something else.
“But when it first happened, I thought Alastair was being a bit over the top and we should have worked it through so I could do an independent review. They needed someone with more compliance and governance and someone with a finance or law background, I had neither of those.
“I still thought that maybe I could have a role, because I was quite passionate about it, in the marketing sense. But my mental health got way out of control and I resigned, but there was no doubt if I hadn’t resigned I would have been moved sidewards.
“I was on an island because I had Clarko and Ross and all the other coaches saying, ‘How can you deal with the Essendon coaches?’
“But the number one thing on our mission statement was to look after the welfare of person. I was out there walking laps of The Tan with James (Hird), wanting to know how his welfare was.
“They wanted more support but they really couldn’t tell us what happened, that was really frustrating.
“So for three years there, I had a huge grudge against Alastair and Mark Brayshaw to a certain degree, because he did the independent review and he took over as CEO, so I was left without the job that I loved.
“But when I came out the other side, I could actually see what they were trying to do - they were wanting to do the right thing by the association. They still wanted to look after me but at that stage, they had no idea that I had some mental health issues.”
Frawley revealed that today he has mended his relationship with Clarkson.
“We’ve patched things up. He’s a star. He’s the best coach ever really, when you think about it,” he added.
“All due respect to the past, but it was train twice a week, play, and there were three or four teams that year who were a chance to win it. Now we’ve got 18 teams in the competition.
“He’s a freak.”