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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Ruthven

Playing amid McCarthy tragedy a "tough ask": Clark

Walyalup (Fremantle) defender Jordan Clark says he would have supported any decision to not to play in last Friday’s match following the passing of Cam McCarthy. 


The 29-year-old player passed away on Thursday night just 24 hours before the Fremantle were due to play Sydney at Optus Stadium on Friday. 


McCarthy played 70 AFL games across Fremantle and GWS and kicked 99 career goals.


On the scoreboard, Sydney defeated Fremantle 39-87, but it was clear something bigger than football was happening off-field. 

“It was a very difficult night for many and each individual was impacted by Cam in different ways,” Clark told SportFM.


“Personally, I didn't know him. I wasn't at the club when he was here but seeing the impact that he had around the place was greater than probably what everyone saw. 


“Having to be around your mates who are really hurting and struggling to get up for a game, it was quite tough to see.


“It was a credit to those individuals who were able to pull themselves together and get through a game of footy because there's a lot of people who probably wouldn't be able to do that.” 


McCarthy’s former teammates took the field donning black armbands and held a moment’s silence, which saw several emotional players including captain Alex Pearce and Nat Fyfe. 


Post-match, Pearce and Fyfe paid tribute to their former teammate by placing a bouquet of purple flowers in the goal square. 

Since Friday, discussions have sparked surrounding Friday's game, with many debating whether the game should have gone ahead. 

Clark says he could see ‘both sides’, but clarifies he would understand anyone’s decision if they opted not to play. 


“I could see the AFL's stance on it, but I could also see the club and the multiple individuals that if they didn't want to play, I could see absolutely why,” he said.


“I'd never have any angst or throw opinions on why they don't play. I'd fully support them as a teammate. If the club chose not to play going forward, I would fully support that decision as well. 


“If anyone out there has learned through the news of their best mate passing away and having to turn around and play a game 12 hours later on the biggest stage possible, it'd be a pretty tough ask. 


“Going forward it's something that should be looked at. Bearing in mind, we are professional athletes and sometimes things come at a cost. Playing footy in that circumstance is not ideal for us, but we have to do it.” 


Clark said the playing group spent time with each other over the weekend, gathering at Pearce’s house to catch up following Friday’s event. He also said players who needed additional support are in the process of receiving it.


“That was probably a good weekend we had together and coming into the club this week,” he said 


“All the individuals that would have needed a bit more of a follow-up have gone and sourced that and the club certainly helped them look after their health and wellbeing.


“It's been an interesting week but the club's been very good in that space. Hopefully it's not something that will impact us too much this week but obviously it will impact some individuals for a fair while.”


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