Fremantle coach calls for more help after death of Cam McCarthy

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir says his players are “ holding up well” a week after the tragic loss of former teammate Cam McCarthy and called on the AFL industry to “do more” to look after former players in need.

Dockers players including dual Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe had tears in their eyes during a pre-game tribute to McCarthy before last week’s 48-point loss to Sydney, the match played just 24 hours after the former Fremantle and GWS player’s death, aged just 29.

The pain was felt beyond the Dockers, with West Coast star Tom Barrass posting a touching tribute to his close friend, having also played last weekend in the wake of his death.

“Men like these are hard to come by,” Barrass wrote on Instagram.

“So full of love, kindness and laughter. But that’s why they’re so special, and the lessons they teach last a lifetime.

“I’m gonna miss you Universal Brother.”

On Wednesday Longmuir, days out from his players needing to suit up again against St Kilda, said the McCarthy situation could serve as an opportunity to highlight how much more work everyone in the AFL could do to avoid similar incidents.

McCarthy was the fourth former Docker to have died in the past six years, following the passing of Colin Sylvia, Shane Yarran and Harley Balic, all in similarly tragic circumstances after their AFL careers ended prematurely.

“We can always do more,” Longmuir said.

“The Cam situation should bring it to the forefront, and more discussions should be had to see if we can improve.

“From personal experiences, I know the AFLPA (AFL Players Association) offer a lot of resources and a lot of services for past players.

“The discussion should be around how we can get those past players using those services, and making sure their wellbeing and health post-footy remains really vibrant.”

The Fremantle squad got together on Saturday evening to mourn the loss of McCarthy as a group and start their healing process.

Longmuir said the club had also provided help to the players, in the hope they could balance the tragedy with the need to focus on football this weekend.

“They’re holding up well. They’re supporting each other,” Longmuir said.

“The club has put things in place so they can reach out.

“We’ve got to find a balance now. We’re into a new week, a new prep, and we have to refocus and come back together and give our best week of prep this week for St Kilda.

“That process has started.”

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