The death of much-loved Dunnstown reserves footballer Lachie Poulter after a match on the weekend has “left a massive hole in the community” according to friends and team mates.
Dunnstown was in shock after news filtered through of the 25-year-old’s death at the end of the reserves match at Learmonth on Saturday.
Poulter collapsed on the sideline at the end of the game and despite the best efforts of club staff and paramedics he was not able to be saved.
According to Dunnstown Football Netball Club president Shane Murphy, Lachie was fit and healthy and his sudden death has left Lachie’s family, friends and team mates reeling.
“Lachie was a pinnacle member of our Club. He loved everybody and everybody loved him,” Mr Murphy said.
“He has left a massive hole in our community and hope that his family can take comfort in the legacy he has gifted our club,” Mr Murphy said.
“At the young age of 25, Lachie had created a life based on mateship, generosity and his passion for all things, especially his family and friends.
“Lachie was a young, fit healthy man that was loved by all that came into contact with him, leaving a lasting impression to all.”
Mr Murphy said Lachie was a much loved son, brother, grandson and friend.
Lachie leaves behind a family that will remember his big heart, infectious smile and passion for his mates. They are grateful for the support from their family and friends who are helping them through this difficult time.Dunnstown president Shane Murphy
“Lachie was taken too soon but he was doing what he loved, for a club he loved with the teammates he loved.”
Dunnstown coach Justin Abrams described the devastation at losing one of the club’s much-loved figures.
“We lost a great footballer but more importantly we have lost a fantastic, popular irreplaceable friend to everyone at the club,” Abrams said.
“He was one of those people that everyone loved.
“...it’s either going to devastate the group - which it has at the moment - or galvanise us to stick the year out.
“Football is irrelevant to us at the moment.”
You can read people’s tributes to Lachie in this post.
Onlookers at the game spoke of the shock and tears that flowed at the Learmonth football ground where the incident occurred.
“The Dunnstown supporters, players and club officials were devastated. They had kept vigil hoping that the young man would survive,” said The Courier football writer John McGregor, who was at the ground to cover the scheduled Learmonth v Dunnstown matches.
“Tears flowed. Disbelief that a player and friend was gone. It's a tragedy that is felt by and deeply moves the greater football family.”
The CHFL released a statement on its website following the tragedy.
“The Central Highlands FL and its members are shocked at the tragic death of a Dunnstown reserves player today at the Learmonth Oval,” it read.
“He collapsed at the end of the reserves game and despite the best efforts of club staff and paramedics he was not able to be saved.
“The CHFL will work with both clubs and their members over coming weeks to support them through this heartbreaking incident.
“There was nothing which occurred within the match which led to the player's collapse.”
The two senior sides shared the points from the cancelled game, which leaves each just outside the Central Highlands Football League finals bracket with two rounds to play.
Dunnstown is scheduled to play Newlyn at Dunnstown next Saturday. The future of this fixture is expected to be discussed between the two clubs and CHFL over the next few days.
Learmonth is ninth, percentage clear of Dunnstown. Both teams are nipping at the heels of Bungaree, which is two points ahead in eighth.
Dunnstown then meets Daylesford away in the last round.
The club’s full statement can be read below.