AFL cancels Adelaide-Geelong fixture

Adelaide’s AFL match with Geelong will not be played and treated as a draw after Crows coach Phil Walsh was found dead on Friday morning.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the match would be cancelled “as a mark of respect” after discussions with both clubs, the players association, with premiership points to be split.

“While playing footy can be part of the grieving process, we are strongly of the view it is not fair to ask the young men at the Adelaide Crows or the Geelong Cats to play in these circumstances,” he said.

“The sorrow and stress felt today touches many in our industry as Phil Walsh gave a lot to our game.

“He was part of the AFL family for 32 years and there are not many words of comfort today to those who feel this terrible loss.”

McLachlan said postponing the remaining fixtures in round 15 was considered, but would instead be played.

“The remaining seven games will go ahead from tonight,” he said.

“We know that the usual passion of our game will not be there.

“We also know that our clubs, members and supporters will gather in the spirit of respectful mourning in support for the family and friends for a great football man who was loved by so many.”

Walsh’s death most immediately impacts the Crows but his AFL footprint extends far and wide.

Walsh played 122 games between Collingwood, Richmond and Brisbane before moving into coaching.

He worked as a fitness coach at Geelong, then an assistant at Port Adelaide where he helped win the club’s maiden AFL flag in 2004.

Walsh moved to West Coast from 2009 before returning to the Power in 2014.

He was appointed as Adelaide’s senior coach in October last year.

AFL House has placed its flags at half-mast to mourn Walsh’s death.

McLachlan said the AFL was “working closely with all of our partners” to consider the ramifications of cancelling a match, which includes travelling fans.

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