"You're about to have a heart attack and we can't prevent it," the doctor said.
Colinda Holmes was the medical officer at No. 2 Sportsground in Newcastle on Saturday when former Newcastle Knight Matthew Gidley called her into the dressing sheds. His teammate had started vomiting.
"When I walked in, he was saying 'I'm just a bit hot, just a bit hot'," Dr Holmes said.
Tony Butterfield was lying on a timber bench in the dressing sheds. He was pale, sweating and showing obvious signs of distress.
"I think the reason I found it important to tell him [he was about to have a heart attack] was that he was still communicating really well but he obviously knew by the amount of fussing we were doing that something was wrong," Dr Holmes said. "I thought he is going to feel calmer if he knows what is happening and why it is going to be OK when it happens."
Rachael Paton, an intensive care nurse, was at the match with her partner Daniel Abraham. Abraham called her to the sheds to help. They moved the Knights legend onto the floor to try and cool him down.
Moments later, the first paramedic arrived on scene. Drew Hamilton gave Butterfield aspirin to chew and tried to attach equipment to get an image of the man's heart, but his condition made it difficult to get a reliable reading. Ms Paton and Dr Holmes worked to keep Butterfield dry as Mr Hamilton took over treatment.
Another former Knight, Mark Hughes was in the dressing sheds watching his mate decline.
"It was such a strange place to be," he said. "We were so happy after the game, singing the team song. We'd had a beer. It was just a really great place to be and then Tony became sick quite quickly.
"Buttsy is tough. He's like an old cattle dog. When I came to the Knights, he was one of the first to take me under his wing. He did that with all the young blokes. He was a leader. And to see that – it was one of the toughest things I've been involved with."
Butterfield was mid-sentence when his heart stopped beating.
"He just didn't say the next word," Dr Holmes said.
Up until that point, she and Ms Paton had been talking Butterfield through. They kept Hughes and his teammates updated. Now, training kicked in.
"There wasn't a lot of conversation," Ms Paton said.
Butterfield stopped breathing and lost consciousness. Ms Paton began compressions.
At the back of the room, Hughes called out to his mate urging him to pull through.
"I was rattled; a bit of a mess," he said. "I yelled out "come on Butts". It was like he was at a footy match."
Mr Hamilton took over compressions and Ms Paton stood by the defibrillator. A shock was delivered. More compressions. Butterfield slowly made his way back to consciousness.
"These people – the way they reacted under pressure, the way they worked as a team, the cool heads they had under pressure – I don't know how you learn to do that," Hughes said. "It's something I have never had to face. They knew what to do and I couldn't have any more admiration for them.
"We walk the streets and see lots of fans as footballers. People who love the Knights and they treat the Knights as heroes. But I witnessed real heroes on that day. These people do this on a daily basis and what they do is nothing short of heroic."