Some of the AFL's fiercest characters choked back tears and others were too distraught to speak in public.
Danny Frawley's death in a car crash on Monday afternoon left the game shattered.
There were soon widespread tributes for the knockabout potato farmer from Bungaree, who was known more by his nickname Spud than Danny.
Frawley was remembered for his infectious personality and as a country bloke who wore his heart on his sleeve.
There were memories of Frawley's humour, but the overwhelming emotion on Monday night was one of profound grief.
FoxFooty colleagues Jonathan Brown and Paul Roos struggled to keep their emotions in check during a tribute segment and Brown, renowned as one of the AFL's toughest players, at times could barely speak.
Fellow On The Couch panellist Garry Lyon was too upset to appear and Jason Dunstall also grieved in private.
Dunstall and Frawley were co-hosts of the irreverent FoxFooty show Bounce.
The raw emotion of Frawley's TV colleagues recalled the Thursday night in 1995 when AFL legend Ted Whitten died and fellow Footscray great Doug Hawkins barely coped during a live program as the news broke.
A couple of months before Whitten's death, Frawley famously had escorted him around the Victorian dressing rooms to meet players at an MCG State Of Origin match.
A lap of honour for a crying Whitten at that game is one of the AFL's iconic moments.
AFL community ‘absolutely shattered’
Frawley died the day after his 56th birthday.
His car left the road and hit a tree near his home town of Bungaree, outside Ballarat.
Renowned as one of the AFL's great full-backs, Frawley played 240 games for St Kilda between 1984-95.
He captained the Saints for 177 games, then a club record.
Frawley coached Richmond for five years, taking them to a 2001 preliminary final.
But it was their only finals appearance under Frawley and impatient Tigers fans turned on him.
The club sacked him in 2004 and that was one of the reasons for the mental health problems that dogged Frawley over the last few years.
He became the chief executive at the AFL Coaches Association, but suffered a nervous breakdown in 2014 as the game reeled from the Essendon supplements debacle.
Frawley resigned and took a spell out of the game, before returning to commentary roles and a part-time role as a defensive coach with his beloved Saints.
He is survived by his wife Anita and daughters Chelsea, Danielle and Keeley.
Vale Danny Frawley. Absolutely shattered. Gave me my chance. Such a caring and passionate person. Thoughts are with his family. Gone to soon. #spud.— Jay Schulz (@Jschulz28) September 9, 2019
I’m deeply saddened by the passing of Danny Frawley.A work colleague over the years and valued member of the All Australian selection committee. Wonderful player , captain,finals coach and much loved media performer. My grandkids loved the Golden Fist award on The Bounce. RIP Kb— Kevin Bartlett (@KevinBartlett29) September 9, 2019
Rest In Peace Spud. My thoughts and prayers are with his Family & friends at this time❤️— Shaun Burgoyne (@ShaunBurgoyne9) September 9, 2019
Just a bloody top bloke spud. A real mate. Listen for his infectious laugh in the background. https://t.co/i5lQsvHW7r— Mark Ricciuto (@markricciuto) September 9, 2019
You meet lots of blokes in footy, but the ones you learn the most off, often help shape your journey for the better.. Spud was one of those guys, will miss ya Spud RIP 😥 pic.twitter.com/LqNKl025AV— Ben Dicko Dixon (@bdicko19) September 9, 2019
Just so sad. Love and prayers for the Frawley family. Thinking of you all. XO— David King (@davidking34) September 9, 2019
R.I.P mate. Still can’t believe it. ❤️— David Armitage (@armo_20) September 9, 2019
R.I.P mate. You gave me my first opportunity to play AFL. You took a punt on me, when no one else did. You were so supportive and always there for me and my family. I’m forever grateful. Condolences to Anita, Chelsea, Keeley and Danielle. Gone way to soon. R.I.P Spud 💔 pic.twitter.com/wHPMjfYqvl— Andrew Krakouer (@andrewkrakouer) September 9, 2019