The playing future of Sydney Swans champion Adam Goodes remains uncertain after club officials, his coach and closest teammates declared they're not sure if or when the champion will return to the club.
Goodes has taken time off after being on the receiving end of weeks of booing from fans at stadiums across the country.
He will not be part of the side when the Swans take on Adelaide at home on Saturday afternoon, and hasn't given club officials any indication of when he might be back.
Flanked by Swans officials and players, club chief executive Andrew Ireland told a packed media conference at the SCG on Thursday morning that he couldn't be certain if Goodes would return.
"Clearly Adam's struggling with the current situation and we think giving him some time off is the right thing to do," Ireland said Thursday morning at the SCG.
"It's disappointing that he ends up in this situation; it shouldn't happen to him, but that’s the reality.
"My current view is I think he will come back and play through the remainder of the season.
"But to be frank, I couldn't be certain of it."
Senior coach John Longmire said he sat down with the Swans' games record holder on Tuesday, and while he was hopeful that Goodes would play on, he couldn't give any guarantees.
"He was certainly pretty shaken up on Tuesday; it's not until you sit across the table from him and really see him in a very distressed state, (that you're) able to understand the impact of it," Longmire said.
"Once he takes some time out we'll see what happens after that, but I think he'll come back at this point."
Co-captains Jarrad McVeigh and Kieren Jack led the entire Swans list onto the SCG behind Ireland and Longmire in a show of support for Goodes and both men said they thought their teammate would be back.
McVeigh and Jack said supporting their friend was their number one priority.
"All we care about is seeing a mate in distress and who is upset; we all support Adam and his well-being is all that’s on our mind," McVeigh said.
"It's affecting him, it's affecting the playing group. To see your mate genuinely hurting the way he is and having to take time away from something that he loves doing, that’s something you never want to see," Jack added.
Goodes was a massive support for McVeigh and wife Clementine when they lost their infant daughter Luella in 2011, so the skipper knows the dual Brownlow medallist as well as anyone at the Swans.
But even he didn't realise how much emotional damage Goodes had suffered over the past few months.
"It's taken a huge toll, for a player not to be able to come to training and to play is a huge thing," McVeigh said.
"This is where he loves to be, out here training with us and playing, and this is where his sanctuary should be, but unfortunately it's not at this point."
Jack said Goodes had put up with too much this season, and it was wrong that he had been forced away from the game he loves.
"He puts on such a brave face when he comes to the club, and takes it all on his shoulders and says, 'Don't worry about me boys, I'm fine'," Jack said.
"As football players you can almost come out onto the field and escape a lot of problems and issues that you have, but for Adam he doesn't see that as an option."
Questions have been raised about the mental health of one of the game's greatest players, but Longmire said that while Goodes was struggling emotionally, he was surrounded by people who had his best interests at heart.
"He's got strong family and plenty of support which is really important, and his teammates are very good as well, we're there to support him," Longmire said.
It has taken the footy world until round 18 to make a strong stance in support of one of it' most decorated stars, but Longmire denied this week's initiatives had come too late.
He said parties within the club and outside had discussed how to tackle the issue, but all attempts to halt the abuse have failed.
"I think we all tried to handle it as best we could as the journeys happened, but it hasn't got better, it's gotten worse," Longmire said.
"So now as a game we're saying that's enough and we need to change it.
"We've done some magnificent things as a game, both club, players, and supporters; the game has been fantastic and we've seen many examples of that recently, and now it's time to address this one."
The Swans have six games remaining before the finals - three at the SCG and one at Spotless Stadium in Sydney - and Ireland remains optimistic that footy fans would see Goodes in the red and white again.
"Adam needs some space. Hopefully with that space he can come back and play some good football in the back end of the season," Ireland said.
Goodes has played 365 games for the Swans in 17 seasons, won the Brownlow Mmedal in 2003 and 2006, is a four-time All Australian and triple club champion, and was part of the 2005 and 2012 Swans premiership sides.
— Sydney Swans (@sydneyswans) July 30, 2015