North Melbourne star Ben Cunnington is a man of few public words, but he succinctly captured the mood of his shattered teammates when he described Brad Scott's departure as like losing a family member.
In an at-times surreal Saturday afternoon at Marvel Stadium, Scott's men rallied from 32 points down to score a stunning 18.7 (115) to 13.12 (90) win over the Western Bulldogs in his 211th and final game in charge.
Scott, who will announce his resignation at a press conference on Sunday, hugged teary-eyed players on the ground after the final siren and waved goodbye to the cheer squad after 10 years at the club.
Cunnington, the No.5 pick at the 2009 draft, has only ever known life as an AFL footballer under Scott and gave an insight into how deeply the coach's absence will be felt when he gave an on-field interview shortly after the final siren.
"It felt like a loss in your family," Cunnington told Fox Footy of the moment he heard the news.
"He backed me right from the start, early on he kept showing belief in me to be able to be who I am today.
"So it was personal and I wish I could have him for my whole career but that's life.
"Today was a win for his whole career."
Scott, who is contracted for next season, will expand on his reasons for hastening his exit on Sunday when it is expected assistant coach Rhyce Shaw will be named caretaker coach.
Shaun Higgins, who has won two club best-and-fairests and been named All-Australian under Scott after his move from the Bulldogs, echoed Cunnington's sentiments.
"I've spoken a lot about the influence he's had on me and where my football was at prior to coming over," Higgins said.
"Everything that I've been able to do has been on the back of him being the coach.
"The relationship with him was unlike any other coach that I've had.
"I'll be forever indebted to the footy club but also to Scotty for the way that he was able to get me back on track as a footballer."
Australian Associated Press