'Awful time': Ray Hadley's heartache over devastating tragedy

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Ray Hadley, pictured here opening up about the tragic death of Peter Jackson.
Ray Hadley opened up about the tragic death of Peter Jackson. Image: Fox League

Ray Hadley has opened up about the devastating death of rugby league great Peter Jackson in an emotional chat with Matty Johns.

Speaking on Face to Face With Matty Johns on Fox League on Wednesday night, the legendary broadcaster opened up about the impact that Jackson had on his life.

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Hadley got emotional as he discussed the death of Jackson - a former Canberra, Brisbane and North Sydney star in the 1980s and 90s.

Jackson died of a drug overdose in 1997 after suffering from mental health issues.

He had worked in the media with Hadley after his retirement in 1993.

“Peter was probably my first encounter with someone with a mental health issue,” Hadley said.

“I probably didn’t know what to do. I tried to help him, I didn’t know whether to be tough on him or kind to him. 

"He was a fractured human being because of what had happened, god bless him he made me feel more attuned to dealing with people with mental health issues.

“Growing up, if you gave anything away about being weak mentally. Well ‘he’s a weak bastard, he’s not strong enough’. 

"Having lived through various incidents throughout my life, I’ve realised there are challenges and I’m much more respectful and circumspect about mental health than I ever was and that’s because of Peter.”

Brad Izzard, pictured here being tackled by Gene Miles and Peter Jackson in 1990.
Brad Izzard is tackled by Gene Miles and Peter Jackson (R) in 1990. (Photo by Craig Golding/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).

Peter Jackson's tragic death

Jackson played 17 State of Origin games for Queensland as well as nine Test matches for Australia.

In November of 2007 he was found dead in a Sydney hotel room.

It was later revealed that he had been sexually abused as a 15-year-old by a former coach who was later convicted and jailed over a separate incident.

The trauma caused Jackson to use drugs and alcohol throughout his life and saw him suffer depression.

His death was used in anti-child abuse campaigns on radio and television in 2000.

The Peter Jackson Memorial Trophy is awarded to a player or member of staff from the Queensland State of Origin team every year.

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