Football fans have expressed an outpouring of grief over the tragic death of 22-year-old John McCarthy.
McCarthy died after falling from a building while on holiday with a group of Port Adelaide teammates in Las Vegas.
Port Power flags in the yards of passionate supporters around Alberton flew at half-mast as the community mourned the loss.
Dozens of people, including club president Brenton Duncanson, visited a makeshift memorial to the popular player at Port Adelaide’s Alberton headquarters today.
Sporting McCarthy’s number 35 drawn on her hand, Rhianna Hilditch fought back tears as she spoke about McCarthy, whom she had met while on work experience at the club recently.
“It is just kind of a shock I was talking to him just the other day, and now he is gone,” she said.
“I got to meet him a few weeks ago and he was a really nice guy. He was a really good player, but I think it was just his personality; he just had something about him that made everyone fall in love.
“Port Adelaide embraced him, Collingwood still loved him and the entire AFL community loved him as a player and a nice guy.”
She described McCarthy’s death as a tragic loss for the football community.
“My heart goes out to all the family and friends because it is just such a tragic loss, it is just devastating,” she said.
“If I am this upset, I can’t imagine how they feel.”
Another Port Adelaide fan, Megan Good, also sent her condolences to McCarthy’s family.
“I feel for his family, it is devastating for the club,” she said.
“It is just a horrible, horrible thing to happen.
“He was a really good player for us, and we are devastated, and I hope the boys play for him next year.”
She said she particularly felt for the other players on their way home from the United States.
“It is going to be a very long, hard road home, they went as 11 and they come back as 10,” she said.
“I hope they can pick up and be strong and hopefully next year they will play for John and play with the Port Adelaide spirit.”
Cheryl Jones was another Port Adelaide fan visiting the memorial for McCarthy at Alberton Oval today.
“As I said to my husband last night, he is younger than my two sons, it just breaks my heart, and for his family as well, it is not something I can imagine, losing a child,” she said.