The stands were empty, but for those lining the boundary nearby and watching on TV, Josh Walker’s awkward landing brought about an immediate sense of fear.
Flying for a mark in the first quarter, he got caught over the top of a St Kilda opponent, before falling out of control to the ground. He landed on his back and neck and lay still on the Marvel Stadium surface.
Somehow, the North defender walked from the field minutes later.
“I suppose it’s a pretty vulnerable position and you could end up with a decent knockout or broken neck, so I am lucky,” Walker told North Media.
“I remember it all. I just had a good run and jump and thought it was a good chance to fly for an aerial ball, and unfortunately had the legs taken out.
“The next thing you know I’m upside down and landed more on the back of my neck and back than my actual head. It wasn’t the most pleasant experience.”
Despite the initial fears of a serious injury, when he took time to get up, Walker said it was more of a shock to the system than anything.
“It was more taking a second … it knocked the wind out of me,” he explained.
“ … so taking a second to catch my breath, and then they (the doctors) were running through a few questions and squeezing my toes and fingers and that, which is all standard.”
Understandably, the decision was made there and then that Walker wouldn’t be returning to the field, despite some debate from the man himself.
“The way it is now, the doctors are pretty quick to act on that stuff,” he said.
“I think I would have liked to play on, but they are pretty quick to act and make a call. That’s the best long term.”
Watching the vision back, Walker reflected on just how lucky he was to have escaped without injury.
“I’ve come out with pretty much nothing, so it could have been a lot worse,” he said.
Spare a thought for his family though, who were sitting in a corporate box and had to endure the moment live.
“They got invited along and sadly didn’t get to see much of me play,” Walker added.
“I think they were a bit concerned while I was down, but when I was able to talk off, it put their mind at ease.”