AFL crowd's 'beautiful' moment after devastating tragedy

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
The Fremantle Dockers donned specially designed jumpers in honour of late superfan Milli Lucas on Thursday night, while the Optus Stadium crowd rose in applause at the 14-minute mark of the first quarter. Pictures: Getty Images
The Fremantle Dockers donned specially designed jumpers in honour of late superfan Milli Lucas on Thursday night, while the Optus Stadium crowd rose in applause at the 14-minute mark of the first quarter. Pictures: Getty Images

Fremantle Dockers supporters rose in unison during the first quarter of Thursday night's match against Geelong to pay tribute to teenage fan Milli Lucas, who died earlier this year.

The club had taken on 14-year-old Lucas as something of an ambassador after she was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in 2016.

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Milli and other members of her family carried a rare genetic condition called Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, which leaves carriers vulnerable to a wide range of cancers.

After raising more than $170,000 dollars, the Kucas family was able to afford surgery by renowned neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo in 2019, which saw 98% of the tumour removed.

Complications persisted however, and Milli sadly passed away in January 2021.

There was an outpouring of support for the Lucas family, particularly from the Dockers, in the wake of the teenager's tragic death.

The love the club had for their young fan was on full display on Thursday evening, as the packed crowd at Perth's Optus Stadium rose in applause at the 14-minute mark of the first quarter.

“This stadium, as the applause goes on, was her happy place," commentator Brian Taylor said.

"As a Fremantle supporter, this was where she’d like to come, where she could smile."

Fans on social media also praised the beautiful gesture from the fans, which came as the Dockers played in jumpers designed by Milli's siblings.

The design featured bright yellow stars and an illustration of Milli with angel wings.

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Dockers fans were enamoured with Milli after she was invited to run out with the team and toss the coin ahead of a clash against Port Adelaide in 2019.

Fremantle got the win that day, with Milli describing the day as the best of her life after joining the team to sing the song afterwards.

Sadly for the Dockers, the weight of sentiment wasn't with them on Thursday as Geelong scored a big win.

Fremantle battered by determined Geelong Cats outfit

The Cats kicked eight goals to one in the first half to set up the 14.16 (100) to 3.13 (31) win in front of 35,271 fans on Thursday night, with the result lifting them to the top of the ladder.

The Dockers had clawed their way into the top eight on the back of last week's 62-point demolition of Hawthorn, and their game against Geelong was the first time they had appeared on a Thursday or Friday night in five years.

But the game was all but over at halftime, with Fremantle's turnovers and wastefulness in front of goal proving costly.

It was Fremantle's biggest defeat under coach Justin Longmuir, eclipsing the 59-point loss to West Coast in round seven this year.

Geelong's dominance was highlighted by the marks inside 50m statistic, which the Cats won 28-2.

Darcy put in a huge effort to finish with 18 disposals, eight clearances, and 37 hitouts.

Fremantle suffered a bruising loss to Geelong in Perth on Thursday night. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Fremantle suffered a bruising loss to Geelong in Perth on Thursday night. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

But he hobbled off early in the final quarter with a suspected MCL injury to his strapped left knee.

Darcy had clutched at the knee in the opening minutes of the second quarter, and bravely played on for as long as he could.

Lobb was subbed off at halftime with a suspected syndesmosis injury, while forward Josh Treacy was reported for rough conduct.

Treacy drew the ire of Geelong players after bumping Jed Bews in the back as the Cats defender was taking a mark.

Despite Darcy's dominance in the ruck, Geelong's midfield got on top at ground level, with Cam Guthrie (35 disposals, seven clearances) and Sam Menegola (30 possessions, seven clearances, one goal) influential.

Tom Hawkins cashed in up forward with four goals and three contested marks despite the slippery conditions.

With AAP

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