'He was over it': Devastating new details about young footy player's death

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Late rugby league player Ziggie Vincent was “over football” and didn’t know what else to do before his tragic death.

Regarded as a potential star of the future, the 19-year-old Bulldogs player was found dead over the weekend.

A forward from Griffith in country NSW, Vincent joined the Bulldogs this year and played in their Jersey Flegg side.

However one of Vincent’s close friends has told The Daily Telegraph how Vincent didn't want to play footy anymore but didn't know what else to do.

Ziggie Vincent died at age 19. Image: Facebook

"He was just over football ... he did not want to play anymore, that's what people don't know, he told me he didn't even want to play for the Bulldogs," Epeli Serukabaivata said.

"People always expected him to make it far and that's all people knew of him, so he didn't want to change his career because he didn't know where to start."

Serukabaivata said he hoped Vincent’s death would encourage people struggling with mental health to seek help.

"You're never weak if you speak, when you bottle it up stuff like this happens," Serukabaivata said.

"It's better to ask someone if they're OK and have a 10-minute conversation, than to not ask them and never talk to them again."

Rugby league community devastated

Vincent was understood to be staying at the home of close friend CJ Mundine, the son of former NRL star Anthony, while in Sydney.

"The Bulldogs would like to express their deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Ziggy Vincent who tragically passed away yesterday," the Bulldogs said.

"Although Ziggy was only around the club for six weeks as a trialist for our Jersey Flegg side, he had made a great impression on all those that had met him and had made some close friends in and around the club.

"His passing has come as a major shock to everyone at the club and we offer our condolences and deepest sympathies to his family and friends."

Anthony, who played for St George, Brisbane and St George Illawarra between 1993-2000, spoke emotionally about Vincent's death on social media.

CJ was recently signed by South Sydney on a two-year deal.

"It's a very sad day, very sad. I'm a bit emotional here. We lost a brother, young Ziggie Vincent," Anthony said.

Anthony Mundine shared his devastation. Image: Instagram/Facebook

"Took his life last night. It's very hard to take for myself but I can't imagine (what) his family and close friends, brothers and siblings (are going through)."

Anthony urged those struggling with mental health issues to talk to others.

"I let Zig know I was always there for him ... but a lot of these brothers feel like they're a burden. But they're actually not," he said.

"They're just shy and don't want to bring their problems on anyone else.

"To anyone that has any problems with mental health or are looking to harm themselves or are not in a good place, please speak up to somebody you trust, someone that sheds a good light in your life.

"That's the most important thing. Even hit me up if you have to. Hearing this news really affected me. I haven't left bed all day."

The loss of Vincent comes six years after the NRL community was also rocked by the death of Wests Tigers forward Moses Fotuaika.

North Queensland trio Alex Elisala, Francis Winterstein and Regan Grieve, and Melbourne's Hayden Butler also lost their battle with depression in recent years.

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with AAP