A MOURNFUL silence fell over Ballarat's City Oval ahead of the Round 13 clash between Sunbury and Redan on Saturday.
"We are going to sorely miss them"Sunbury president Phil Lithgow
Muddied players from either side, linked their black-taped arms, hung their heads and wept.
It was the day the Ballarat Football Netball League would never forget.
On Friday morning, Sunbury footballer James Rizk woke to learn his parents Albert and Maree would not be coming home.
The couple, along with almost 300 others, were killed after the Malaysia Airlines plane they were travelling in was shot down over Ukraine.
Rizk chose not play against Redan on Saturday afternoon, instead spending time with his older sister Vanessa in light of the tragedy.
Sunbury Football Club president Phil Lithgow said Rizk was holding up well despite the terrible circumstances.
"James is holding up remarkably well," Mr Lithgow said.
"He and his sister Vanessa are very brave at the moment in going through what is quite unbelievable circumstances."
Albert and Maree, who had close ties to the football club, were remembered as lovely people.
"Albert has been a committee man for the last four years and Maree was a helper in our canteen," he said.
"They are lovely people, the sort of people that would light up the room after a game and entertain us all.
"We are going to sorely miss them."
Close family friend Hedley Duhau said he had known the Rizks for a long time.
"Our boys played football together," he said.
Mr Duhau said he would see the family about three times a week.
"Albert was a friendly person, he was always up for a laugh. He was such a good bloke," he said.
"He would be (at the game) in his hi-vis shirt and Marie would be in the canteen."
Mr Duhau likened Saturday's commemorative match to the service held for the late Melbourne footballer Troy Broadbridge at the MCG in 2004.
"I remember going to the MCG to commemorate Troy Broadbridge, who died in the tsunami, and I cried at that match," he said.
"I have the same sort of feeling today."
"He would be (at the game) in his hi-vis shirt and Marie would be in the canteen"Family friend Hedley Duhau
A minute's silence was held ahead of the match for players and spectators from both football clubs to pay their respect to those lost in the MH17 disaster.
Fragile faces, donning blue and white Sunbury Lions gear, were dotted around the perimeter of City Oval.
Other spectators were confined to the front seats of their cars, momentarily beeping their horns when Sunbury or Redan kicked a goal.
Redan supporter Tony Neville said he was pleased with the turnout.
"It is a show of support from both sides of football," Mr Neville said.
"If it had happened to one of our players, I am sure they would have done the same."