MCG silent as Walsh mourned



Less than 24 hours after Crows coach Phil Walsh was stabbed to death in his Adelaide home, fans and players paid an emotional tribute at the MCG.

More than 75,000 fans observed a minute of silence before the start of Friday’s clash between Hawthorn and Collingwood to remember the 55-year-old who died midway through his first season as an AFL head coach.

• Adelaide coach murdered, son arrested
• ‘Crows match should be abandoned’
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And after Hawthorn’s 10-point win, players from both sides linked arms in a circle in the middle of the ground and bowed their heads for a moment of silence.

It was a moving, powerful gesture, orchestrated by Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson and Pies counterpart Nathan Buckley.

“‘Bucks’ and I got together at the start of the game,” Clarkson said afterwards.

“We said [to respective captains Luke Hodge and Scott Pendlebury], at the end of the game, win, lose or draw, let’s get together and show even that we’d been fierce warriors playing against each other… we’d come together as one, acknowledge Phil and show the footy world we are going to mourn together.”

As the fans and players mourned, the coach’s son, Cy, remained in Flinders Medical Centre under police guard. Earlier he had been remanded in custody and charged with his father’s murder.

The 26-year-old made no application for bail in a bedside hearing and is due to re-appear in court on September 15.

Walsh coached just 12 games for Adelaide. Photo: Getty

Walsh coached just 12 games for Adelaide. Photo: Getty

The ABC reported that he was sedated on Friday evening and that, as a result, his lawyer had not been able to take further instructions from him.

All players, officials and umpires taking part in last night’s MCG clash wore black armbands as a mark of respect for Walsh.

Neither club’s song was played pre-match and the usual run-through banners were dispensed with. Hawthorn’s song was not played after their victory, either.

Phil Walsh died at about 2am on Friday at his beachside home from multiple stab wounds. Paramedics who had arrived at the scene tried, in vain, to save him.

Walsh’s wife, Meredith, was also injured in what police described as an “altercation”. She is recovering in hospital from minor injuries.

Adelaide Police Superintendent Des Bray said there was an argument at the family’s home in the early hours of Friday morning.

“I can’t tell you anything about the argument or the circumstances, but as a result of that, both Mr Walsh and his wife received the wounds,” Supt Bray said.

The son, who lived with his parents at their Somerton Park home, fled the scene but was found by police soon after at a house in neighbouring Glenelg East.

The reaction

Walsh’s death rocked the AFL community. The tributes quickly flowed, with Adelaide captain Taylor Walker taking to Instagram.


Adelaide legend Mark Ricciuto – partly responsible for bringing Walsh to the Crows from cross-town rivals Port Adelaide – added: “I just thought he was going to be a super coach.

The AFL boss announced Sunday's match would not go ahead. Photo: Getty

The AFL boss announced Sunday’s match would not go ahead. Photo: Getty

“If he spent the rest of his career as an assistant coach, he wouldn’t be fulfilling his talent…This isn’t about footy now. It’s just unbelievable.”

The AFL announced Sunday’s scheduled clash between Adelaide and Geelong at the Adelaide Oval was cancelled.

“While playing footy can be part of the grieving process, we are of the view it is not fair to ask the young men of Geelong and Adelaide to play,” AFL boss Gillon McLachlan said.

The premiership points will be split between the two teams, while all other Round 14 matches will go ahead as scheduled.

An Adelaide press conference followed as chairman Rob Chapman and chief executive Andrew Fagan fronted the media.

Chapman said: “This is a crisis unprecedented, there is no rule book, and we are dealing with it.”

Fagan added: “People are walking through the corridors just looking at each other, shaking their heads. It’s really hard to comprehend.”

Fans left flowers and memorabilia at Adelaide’s AAMI Stadium headquarters while others, with the hashtag #PutYourScarvesOut, posted tributes on social media.

Further tributes will follow across the weekend as the AFL world struggles to come to terms with a shocking day.

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