ARM-in-arm and with tears streaming down their faces, former friends and teammates of Ben Groat paid their respects to the late Griffith Blacks player on Saturday.
A minute's silence was held before the Southern Inland Rugby Union (SIRU) grand final at Conolly Rugby Complex in Wagga, while on Friday night, players in the Wests Tigers and South Sydney NRL clash in Sydney also paused to pay their respects.
Ben's brother, Matt Groat, is a first grade players with the Tigers.
Tributes have poured in for Ben since his sudden death last Sunday, with a post-mortem expected to unravel the mystery of how he died.
The popular 26-year-old will be given his final farewell tomorrow in a funeral at Griffith's Uniting Church from 1pm.
His family and close friends will then attend a private burial in his home town of Rankins Springs on Wednesday.
Griffith Blacks president Clint Robertson said it had been an emotion-charged week for those close to Ben.
"We had a busload of players and supporters travel over to Wagga and a lot of his old friends from CSU, where he went to uni, were also there," Robertson said.
"We were all bawling our eyes out it was a sad day.
"He had such a close-knit group of friends and it's obviously really affected them."