Game won’t heal wounds: Crows

Mourning AFL club Adelaide is bracing for more difficult days with farewells to slain coach Phil Walsh and a return to AFL action.

Crows players have been told they don’t have to play against West Coast on Saturday if they don’t feel up to it in the wake of Walsh’s death.

But all players so far have indicated a desire to play, chief executive Andrew Fagan says.

The Crows have offered support to the Walsh family ahead of the as-yet unscheduled funeral of the 55-year-old career coach.

“Allow them space and time to grieve, they know they have got some difficult days ahead well into the future, but equally about saying farewell to Phil,” Fagan told ABC radio on Tuesday.

Crows players wouldn’t be forced to play against the Eagles, a game Fagan said “doesn’t fast-track the healing process”.

“You are never going to force anything on anyone,” he said.

“But I think we have got a very resilient group here.

“Over the last 10 months in particular, we have gone on a real journey of change right across the club and within the footy team, led by Walshy, who bonded these boys very, very closely.

“And they are going to want to play. And then we’ll just work out whether some of them have the capacity to go out there and play the way that he would have wanted them to play.

“If anyone feels they need a bit more time, then they will certainly get it.”

Psychiatrists, counsellors and other experts have been drafted in to help the club cope, with Pagan saying they would remain until the 150 staff were “in a safe place”.

“Let’s just keep asking each other whether they’re okay,” Fagan said.

“I’m not sure we can do much more than what we have done at the moment, apart from allow time to work its way and help us to heal.”

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