AFL honours Phil Walsh at MCG

The game went on and Phil Walsh, who loved his footy with a fierce passion, would have appreciated the gesture.

In scenes that will be repeated across this weekend, Collingwood and Hawthorn honoured the Adelaide coach in Friday night’s AFL clash at the MCG.

No doubt, some would have preferred that all matches were cancelled this weekend.

The AFL is reeling from the shocking circumstances of Walsh’s death at his home early on Friday morning.

But after briefly considering the option of abandoning round 14, the AFL decided only Sunday’s Adelaide-Geelong match would not go ahead.

Instead, the seven remaining games were to reflect the sombre circumstances, with the players wearing black armbands and no playing of the club songs before or after each match.

A video tribute to Walsh was played on the MCG scoreboard on Friday night and the Magpies and Hawks fans gave him a warm round of applause.

Then the players lined up for a minute’s silence before the first bounce and this time the MCG crowd did it properly.

There was no repeat of the unsavoury scenes a few weeks ago before the State Of Origin match, when some fans could not shut up during a minute’s silence for athletics legend Ron Clarke.

But the circumstances were also completely different.

Clarke’s death would have felt distant to those rowdy rugby league fans..

But everyone, whatever their AFL allegiance, was stunned by what they woke up to on Friday morning.

As AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan had noted a few hours earlier, the usual fun of a Friday night MCG blockbuster was missing.

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