Fraser Gehrig was one of the scariest men to play in the AFL and he showed he’s still just as fearsome during a tense radio appearance.
You could cut the tension in the air with a knife during a memorable appearance by former St Kilda full forward Fraser Gehrig on Triple M on Friday night.
There were better goalkickers – or scarier opponents – than the G-Train in the early 2000s but he was a reclusive figure who just wanted to kick a footy and then be left alone.
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It created a hostile relationship between the Saints spearhead and the media at times – as sportsmen turned commentators James Brayshaw and Garry Lyon discovered one night.
Brayshaw and Lyon had been at the Footy Show’s end-of-season lunch when they ended up at the Prince of Wales with the Saints, who were on their Mad Monday.
“Gaz and I made the very poor decision to go to one more joint, rather than go home,” Brayshaw says of the night in question.
“And we happened to run into the St Kilda boys … And suddenly the oxygen has gone out of the room a bit – and the blokes I had around me talking to me seemed to have gone somewhere else.
“And I was left alone with big Fraser … and he wasn’t seeing the humorous side of anything we were going with on-air that season. And I was trying to explain to him that all that came from (Sam Newman) and I’d had nothing to do with it. And he was saying ‘we can make this easy or hard. I can just take you outside and snap you in half – how does that sound?’”
Brayshaw has retold the story several times over the years but on Friday night, as the Saints played the Cats, the Triple M team were finally able to ask for Gehrig’s version of events.
And boy was it worth the wait. Asked if he remembered the incident, Gehrig was direct as it gets.
“To be honest I’ve never been a fan of the media,” he said. “I was the type of player that played. I didn’t like the publicity and I probably still don’t. I’m doing some today for Deliveroo because they’re giving some money to charity. So that’s what I’m about.
“Triple M, to be honest, in their heyday, and I’m not trying to be rude saying this, when you did your 3-2-1 worst players on ground it had an effect on things like depression. And a lot of the guys who were doing those calls have had depression in their lives – and I don’t think it helped.
“Brayshaw, Lyon and these sorts of blokes, at the time I thought ‘go get stuffed’. You know, they’ve had a few beers and they want to come up and try to be heroes and I told them (where to go). So I’ll stand by that.
“I couldn’t care less, to be honest. Again, I don’t want to be rude and turn something into something that it’s not but we’ve seen with depression over the years get bigger and bigger – and we’ve all had it. Probably everyone in this room has had it and those sorts of things (the worst player votes) don’t help. I haven’t listened to Triple M for a long time but I hope you don’t do it (anymore).”
You can hear in the video player above how serious Gehrig was and how tense the room became – and his pointed comments had the Triple M team back-pedalling quicker than a fullback who had pushed the G-Train over the edge in his prime.