ESSENDON has scrapped plans for an end-of-season trip to Las Vegas later this week.
Several players were to holiday together in Vegas, but have opted to cancel the trip out of respect to Port Adelaide's John McCarthy, who was killed in an incident in the gambling mecca.
''Some of them planned on making the trip but under the circumstances they won't go,'' Bombers spokesman Justin Rodski said yesterday.
Players are on holidays, with some already overseas, and were to link up in Las Vegas from various parts of the world.
The football community was in mourning at news of McCarthy's death, and some took to Twitter to express their sympathy.
Power midfielder Kane Cornes wrote: ''Hug your kids and tell your family you love them. We've just lost the nicest guy and best teammate you could ever ask for. Too sad.''
AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou, so often bullish in a press conference, was clearly hit hard.
''To lose a young man at the age of 22 who is in the prime of his life is tragic,'' he said.
Demetriou said he was unable to confirm what took place in Las Vegas until police had finished investigating.
''We have some liaison going on through the Victoria Police, we have been in discussions with the Federal Police, but I can't add anything because it's just speculation,'' he said.
AFL Players Association chief executive Matt Finnis said all players were stunned by McCarthy's death.
''John was a well respected member of both the Collingwood and Port Adelaide clubs who quickly established himself as a hard-working midfielder renowned for his fearless attack on the contest,'' he said.
McCarthy's former TAC Cup coach, Dandenong Stingrays' Graeme Yeats, was particularly emotional, saying that it was a ''real shock to the system'' to learn of McCarthy's death.
''John was a bubbly personality, full of energy, has a tremendous amount of spirit and worked hard on and off the field,'' he said.
''He was well respected in life by his peers. He was an engaging person who was a good listener and a good all-round kid.''
With BRENT DIAMOND