The rugby league community has been rocked by the tragic death of a player after a tackle gone wrong during a match in Western Australia.
Wiremu Kahui, who played for the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs in Perth, died earlier this week - nearly a fortnight after he was rushed to hospital from a first grade game on September 19.
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The father of four was remembered by his wife Haylee as a ‘beloved brother and passionate role model’, while his club was also left in shock by his death.
Ellenbrook Rabbitohs club president Karyssa Morrell shared news of Kahui’s passing earlier in the week on Facebook, describing him as a ‘leader and a role model’.
“As I write this, my heart is heavy,” her post read.
“The passing of our beloved brother and friend, Wiremu Kahui, is hard to digest.
“Wiremu and his family have been pivotal in our clubs growth since it’s inception. Managing, coaching and playing within our juniors, involved in senior leadership groups, and most recently taking on Vice Captaincy of our Val Murphy boys.
“Our Mu was a born leader, a role model, passionate about our family, our club and our game.
“This year alone, he took on two junior teams to make sure the kids didn’t miss out. He represented our club in media campaigns to promote the game coming back since covid hit.
“He fought hard and while this news will have a significant impact on his family, our members and the wider rugby league community, please know Mu will be with us in our hearts forever.
“I will always be grateful for his many contributions to our club and I feel honoured to have even known him. Wiremu is a true legend!
“To our sister Haylee, the boys, and extended family, we will all continue to be here to support you in whatever way we can, always.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to support his family, which has so far raised just over $29,000.
Rugby league in shock after Wiremu Kahui’s death
The rugby league community had already been rocked by the tragic death of another player after a tackle gone wrong, when Joel Dark, cousin of NRL player Boyd Cordner, passed away in early September.
The accident occurred in Dark’s first-grade debut for Newcastle Central, with a head-knock prompting a seizure on the field.
A teammate attempted CPR before Dark was taken to hospital.
NSW Rugby League issued a statement confirming the tragic news.
“The NSW Rugby League is saddened to hear of the tragic passing today of Central Newcastle player Joel Dark,” the statement said.
“Joel, 19, had been in a critical condition in John Hunter Hospital since he collapsed on field during a Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League First Grade match against Western Suburbs at St John Oval on Sunday 6 September.
“The family has requested that their privacy be respected during this very difficult time.
“They have expressed their gratitude to the Central Newcastle Rugby League Football Club, staff at the John Hunter Hospital and all those who have assisted and supported the family during this time.
“The Newcastle Rugby League has postponed all fixtures for this weekend out of respect for Joel and his family.
“The NSWRL and the Rugby League community extend their most sincere condolences to Joel’s family.”
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