Justin Longmuir celebrates with Fremantle players after their win over Richmond at the MCG in round eight, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

WALYALUP coach Justin Longmuir says the industry as a whole can do more to help past players following the tragic death of former Docker Cam McCarthy.

McCarthy, who started his career at Greater Western Sydney before notching 49 games for the Dockers between 2017 and 2020, died last Thursday in Perth.

Walyalup captain Alex Pearce, Nat Fyfe and Luke Ryan were among the current Dockers players who were particularly close to McCarthy and were visibly emotional during a tribute to McCarthy before last week's 48-point loss to Sydney.


Walyalup's squad got together on Saturday evening to mourn the loss of McCarthy as a group.

Longmuir believes the League has a number of good practices in place to help current and past players with mental health, but says more can be done.

"We can always do more," Longmuir told reporters on Wednesday. 

"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."

Waalitj Marawar defender Tom Barrass, who was a close friend of McCarthy's, posted a touching tribute to the former Docker.

"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."

Walyalup will be back in action on Saturday night when they take on Euro-Yroke at Marvel Stadium.

Dockers players were clearly affected by McCarthy's death during the loss to Sydney, and it remains to be seen how they will fare against the Saints. 

Nat Fyfe, Alex Pearce and Caleb Serong line up as the teams pay their respects to former player Cam McCarthy ahead of the match between Fremantle and Sydney at Optus Stadium in round nine, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

"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."

Meanwhile Longmuir concedes Fyfe is lacking confidence in front of goal but is backing the two-time Brownlow medallist to break out of his funk.

Fyfe has been a revelation in the midfield this season, with his work in the trenches helping Walyalup become an elite clearance team.

Nat Fyfe in action during the match between Fremantle and Sydney at Optus Stadium in round nine, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

But the sight of the goal sticks has proven to be kryptonite for Fyfe, with the 32-year-old kicking 2.4 so far this season - and some other shots not even registering a score.

"He's probably lacking a bit of confidence inside forward-50," Longmuir said. 

"He's doing a lot of work on it. He's nailing them at training. He's feeling really confident at training.

"It won't be long before that transfers."


Walyalup ruckman Sean Darcy, who missed last week with a calf niggle, is no certainty to return for Saturday night's clash with Euro-Yroke.

Darcy has played just three games since round 18 last year, with ankle and knee injuries hampering his progress before his recent calf complaint.

Sean Darcy (right) contests a ruck with Rory Lobb during the match between Fremantle and the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium in round seven, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"Before he got injured last year, he was playing at his best, and he was challenging to be one of the best rucks in the comp," Longmuir said.

"We need our best players out there as often as we can. It's frustrating for him, frustrating for us.

"Losing someone of his stature, it does change the structure of our team.

"That's why we're not going to take any risks - we're going to make sure he's cherry-ripe, and when he comes back in we want him to stay in and get some continuity."

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