Best of the game in its worst moment

JAMES McQuillan is the type of footballer every club loves to have.

A quiet achiever who always puts his team first, whether it be in Albury’s firsts or seconds.

I’ve never met James, but it’s for the reasons above that the outpouring of support following Saturday’s accident at the Albury Sportsground came as no surprise.

It was a horrible afternoon to be a part of.

As what always seems to be the case when these terrible incidents occur, McQuillan was doing something he’d done more than 100 times before when he put his head over the footy to try and win it for his team.

The full extent of McQuillan’s injury is yet to be made clear and it probably won’t be for some time.

But what we do know is this — the situation was handled brilliantly.

The ambulance had arrived at the ground before most had even grasped the seriousness of McQuillan’s plight, just minutes after the clash occurred.

Credit must go to both clubs for how quick they were to put things in perspective, too.

Coaches Chris Hyde, Daniel Maher, Drew Barnes and Chris Kennedy showed why their clubs are at the forefront of professionalism in country footy.

They were proactive in working through the situation as best they could to ensure James got everything he needed as soon as possible.

Knowing what we do now, calling the game off seems a no-brainer, but it was a huge call at the time.

We looked set for another classic between two of the greatest sides in the league’s proud history. It was shaping as a cracking contest.

All of that seems inconsequential now.

I’ve lost count of how many people have asked me if I have heard how James is doing since Saturday’s freak incident.

Players, officials and supporters from rival clubs and leagues, even a couple of McQuillan’s former teammates who have since left the area.

They are all hoping for the best.

The entire football world is behind him.

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