McCarthy’s mates return home

Grief-stricken teammates of AFL footballer John McCarthy have arrived back in Australia after the death of the Port Adelaide player at a Las Vegas casino complex.

A group of 10 of McCarthy’s teammates jetted in early Wednesday.

“The players are deeply shocked by the events and will be making no public comment,” a Port Adelaide spokesman said.

The 10 players became separated from McCarthy in the early hours of Sunday, Las Vegas time.

McCarthy later fell nine metres to his death from a roof of the Flamingo Hotel casino complex.

The 22-year-old’s death is not being treated as suspicious, with authorities investigating whether it was an accident or a possible suicide.

Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy said McCarthy’s body would be ready to be released on Wednesday, but it remains uncertain when he would be returned to Australia.

An autopsy has been performed but it could take up to 12 weeks for toxicology results.

McCarthy is understood to have telephoned his girlfriend in Adelaide just hours before he died, saying he wanted to return home and was heading to the airport after becoming separated from his teammates.

The Victorian-born player was on an end-of-season trip to Vegas with teammates Travis Boak, Matthew Broadbent, Alipate Carlile, Brett Ebert, Hamish Hartlett, Tom Logan, Andrew Moore, Paul Stewart, Jackson Trengove and Justin Westhoff.

The 10 players returned to Adelaide on Wednesday, a day after McCarthy’s family told of their pain at McCarthy’s death.

The footballer’s uncle, John Olle, said the family had “suffered a devastating loss” but had been overwhelmed by well-wishers.

“A life does not attract a response of such magnitude unless it’s truly worthy, and the life of Johnny was,” Mr Olle told reporters in McCarthy’s home town of Sorrento on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula on Tuesday.

“He was a unique, a precious and a loved young man.”

McCarthy was found dead on a driveway of the Flamingo Hotel at about 5.40am on Sunday, Las Vegas time – about 4km from the hotel where he was staying.

Port Adelaide chief executive officer Keith Thomas was expected to hold a media conference later on Wednesday.

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