AFL fans held their breath after watching a frightening collision involving North Melbourne's Kyron Hayden that saw the youngster stretchered off the field against Richmond on Saturday.
The misery was compounded for the Kangaroos, who slipped to their fifth-straight defeat after the humbling 54-point loss to the Tigers on the Gold Coast.
The match will be remembered for a sickening incident in the third quarter that ended the match for 21-year-old Hayden.
With his side trailing the Tigers by 26 points, the young defender raced over to intercept a long punt from Richmond up field.
Hayden only had eyes for the ball and was oblivious to the presence of Tigers forward Tom Lynch, who flattened the youngster as they both went in to contest the ball.
The Roos' defender copped a forearm to the face and flopped to the turf after landing heavily on his head.
“That was crazy brave, that was,” Channel 7 commentator Luke Darcy said.
Matthew Richardson praised Hayden's bravery, with replays showing the youngster getting cleaned up by Lynch.
“It’s just incredible the way these players put their body on the line," Richardson said.
"When they have to go, they go. It is a 100-kilo man running at full pace coming towards you.
“He is in a bad way, too, Kyron Hayden. That was like being hit with a freight train that was.
“You cannot underestimate how courageous Kyron Hayden was then.
“That is a heavy, heavy knock. Let’s hope he is OK.”
Fans were also quick to praise Hayden's courage, while praying for his speedy recovery.
🤞 for Kyron Hayden.— Tim Michell (@tim_michell) July 18, 2020
No one can question Kyron Hayden’s willingness to sacrifice for the jumper.— @TheTruthNMFC (@TheTruthNMFC) July 18, 2020
Courage down back when you're getting peppered by high pressure inside 50s all night and making no impact on the scoreboard. That's pure guts and willingness for sure.— Sean (@ofloveandrage) July 18, 2020
Terrible scenes at Carrara as young Kyron Hayden is stretchered off the ground after courageously following the ball and connecting with Tom Lynch’s elbow before hitting the ground heavily with his head.— Zane Bojack (@zanofc) July 18, 2020
Hopefully he will pull up okay #GetBetterASAP #AFLTigersNorth pic.twitter.com/aQprmpKeYw
oh my god that was absolutely awful??? i really hope kyron hayden’s okay 😩😩— 𝒍𝒂𝒖𝒓𝒆𝒏 ✨🪐🌙 (@wxnderless) July 18, 2020
Hey folks. Very best wishes to Kyron Hayden. Nasty & concerning incident & really hope he recovers well. 👍— Simon Wallace (@rfcswallace) July 18, 2020
Kyron Hayden that's as brave as it comes. Well done lad #AFLTigersNorth— Mat James (@HowardMat) July 18, 2020
Roos count cost of latest loss
Hayden's injury was just another headache for the out-of-sorts Kangaroos, who suffered the embarrassment of a rare scoreless opening quarter, as well as more injuries.
Jack Ziebell's return after a fortnight on the sidelines didn't last the opening term before he re-injured his hamstring and limped out of the game.
Not only did the Kangaroos not trouble the scorers in the opening term, their return of 2.11 (23) for the match is the lowest score at the Gold Coast venue in AFL history.
The Tigers would go on to claim a 54-point win, with Ziebell watching helpless from the sidelines as his team slipped to a fifth-straight loss.
"Knowing Jack he's got a lot of pride," Kangaroos coach Rhyce Shaw said.
"Got a lot of passion for our football club, as we all do, but being the skipper it must be pretty hard for him.
"It'd be wearing pretty thin on him I reckon. He wants to get out there and at this at this moment he hasn't had the ability to play too much of a part."
The Kangaroos also suffered setbacks with Cameron Zurhaar (calf) ruled out before the match and youngster Hayden's sickening third round collision that saw miss the remainder of the match.
The trio join a lengthy injury list for the Kangaroos which already includes another veteran in Ben Cunnington (back).
The 29-year-old has been sidelined since he too re-injured himself in round five but Shaw defended the call to bring Ziebell back into the team and said it wasn't a case of history repeating for the Roos.
"We're assessing all the time and I thought we did a really good job after the Ben Cunnington incident," Shaw said.
"Again I'll take responsibility for that, and I thought we learned a lot from that and we went forward.
"I think the Jack scenario is a bit about luck, to be honest."