Rory and Belinda Sloane know it sounds 'weird' - but after losing their first son Leo in 2018, the couple say they wouldn't change a thing about their lives.
In a courageous interview for the upcoming Making the Mark documentary series on Amazon Prime which follows the pandemic-impacted 2020 AFL season, the Sloanes shared their experience of the heartbreak of losing Leo when he was delivered stillborn at 24 weeks.
'OH MY GOD': AFL world loses the plot over 'horrible' moment
'SAD NEWS': AFL world reacts to Bruce McAvaney announcement
The couple have welcomed two healthy boys, Sonny and Bohdi, in the years since.
In the interview, Belinda spoke about how the couple pursued IVF in 2018, leading to Leo's successful conception.
She broke down in tears in a moving moment as she described how it had been to live their lives with Leo alongside them in spirit, if not in life.
“It sounds so weird but it’s just, it’s such a tough thing to go through but we wouldn’t change it for anything because he’s such a big part of our lives, even though he’s not physically here with us," Belinda said.
“He’s taught us so many lessons, to be grateful for things in life and he’ll always be a part of our family.”
Rory was also emotional when discussing the impact his late son continues to have on his life, with Leo's memory often coming to him in ways he never expected.
“It took me a couple of months and I remember I went for a surf and (it was) one of the most beautiful moments, and it reminded me of Leo,” the 30-year-old said.
“This is a really happy moment reminding me of my son, and then I started realising you could grieve in a really positive way.
"I started to grieve by finding different, really nice moments in day to day life that made me think of Leo.
“We’ve got a beautiful boy, we’ll certainly remember forever.”
Rory Sloane backed as Adelaide Crows captain
Sloane has been confirmed as Adelaide's AFL captain as the Crows attempt to rebound from their first wooden spoon.
The 30-year-old will lead Adelaide for the third year in a row after being unanimously endorsed by his teammates.
It will be Sloane's second season as sole skipper after sharing co-captaincy duties with Taylor Walker in 2019.
Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks said the Crows were buoyed by entering the 2021 campaign with no changes to their leadership group.
"Rory typifies what we are about - selflessness, team-first, he is ruthlessly competitive and all about performing at the highest level and making others around him better," Nicks said.
"He has been a fantastic captain for us the past two years and we are excited about him continuing in the role this season.
"The fact that there have been no changes to the leadership group for 2021 reinforces our belief that the five players did an outstanding job in what was a very challenging year in 2020."
Sloane will be hoping for a better run with injury after a broken hand ruled him out of five games last year.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.