AFL star Patrick Dangerfield has revisited the tragic death of former Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh, revealing the turmoil he and his teammates went through in the immediate aftermath.
Speaking to AFL Media as part of the ‘Last Time I Cried’ series, Dangerfield revealed how the tragic news rocked the Adelaide Football Club to the core.
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Walsh’s son Cy was detained until further order after the Supreme Court found he was mentally incompetent when he stabbed his father to death in July 2015.
He was found not guilty of the murder of his 55-year-old father at the family's Adelaide home after the court accepted that he had undiagnosed and untreated schizophrenia at the time.
Last month a court ruled Cy Walsh will be allowed to spend some time in a “step-down” facility as he progresses towards a possible release back into the community.
Dangerfield reveals aftermath of tragedy
On Monday, Dangerfield opened up about finding out his coach had been killed and the emotional moment he and teammates burst into tears after returning to the field.
“Round 15 after Phil Walsh had passed a week-and-a-half before that was one of the most surreal sort of weeks of my entire life,” he said.
“After Round 13, I think it was a Wednesday night, Thursday morning, Phil was killed.
“Then 5.30 Thursday morning David Noble who was the GM of footy at Adelaide at the time, now at Brissy, knocked on my door. When you see someone at 5.30 in the morning... his face was just white, blank.
“He said ‘I need to you come in’, I said ‘What’s going on?’, he said ‘Phil’s been stabbed’. I said ‘What?’ He said ‘Phil’s dead. You need to come in.’
“For that day and for the next few days I didn’t cry, it was just total and utter disbelief that someone who had only been at the organisation a really short period of time but had influenced so many was not going to be there and not going to be there because he was killed, that in itself was just... you couldn’t comprehend it.
“It was total disbelief because that is what you see on Netflix or in a movie, you don’t ever experience it yourself, you’re totally removed from that, we’re in Australia... never do you actually experience it yourself. Not until you do, I just couldn’t believe it.”
Emotions boiled over as Phil Walsh remembered
Dangerfield said he became emotional seeing the tributes for Walsh as games resumed.
“That weekend of Round 14 I think it was Collingwood and Hawthorn they linked arms in the middle of the MCG, that was a really emotional moment it was like the league wrapping their arms around us as an organisation,” he said.
“It’s such a competitive environment you’re in. You’re out to destroy the opposition on a weekly basis and one up everyone else, but the way that the league wrapped their arms around us as an organisation and how the club wrapped their arms around their players, that part I won’t ever forget.
“It was quite incredible, it was more than just a game that you could link arms and pay tribute as Hawthorn and Collingwood did, that was a pretty special moment.
“When that happened to us that’s when emotions totally tipped over and it was like let the emotions roll.”
The current Geelong superstar said he couldn’t help but let the tears flow after walking off the field in Round 15.
“The real emotional breakdown was after that West Coast game (in round 15) walking off the ground,” he added.
“I remember Nic Nat was next to me, I can’t remember who was on the other side, and you’re up against the guys who you’ve just crashed into for two straight hours.
“Because Phil had spent plenty of time at West Coast and that’s where he’d come from those guys were certainly emotional as well because they’d knew him so well, that was when everything was just laid bare and the change-rooms after, everyone was incredibly emotional, we were all crying.
“Left it all out there and after it was like oh my god and a total release of yep this is real, he’s gone, he’s not coming back and what’s next?”