NRL player Troy Dargan died at the age of 26 in a motorcycle accident while on holiday in the Cook Islands during the Christmas period.
According to Australia’s Daily Telegraph, police suspect alcohol and speeding were factors in the incident.
His body was returned to Sydney on Saturday after a fundraising effort from devastated friends and supporters.
The halfback, who was born in Sydney, was of Cook Islands descent and represented the South Pacific nation twice in 2019.
Dargan, known as ‘TJ’, had recently signed a two-year contract at Canberra Raiders, having played for South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2020.
He was in the development system at Parramatta Eels and played for the Australian Schoolboys and New South Wales Under-20s.
He later signed for Brisbane Broncos, turning out for their Queensland Cup feeder team Norths Devils in 2018 and 2019 under current Leeds coach Rohan Smith.
He then reunited with former Broncos coach Wayne Bennett at the Rabbitohs, and last year played for Many Sea Eagles’ New South Wales Cup feeder ream Blacktown Workers.
The accident occurred on Christmas Eve, as Dargan was reportedly returning to the family’s accommodation after a night out. Police said he wasn’t wearing a helmet.
Aria Sports Group, who represented him, said: “TJ will be greatly missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Canberra chief executive Don Furner said: “We were looking forward to Troy having the opportunity to further his NRL career with our club.
“This is a very sad time for his family and friends and we will be respecting their privacy and offering support where we can, to help them at this tough time.
“The news is also very sad for Troy’s current team-mates, and we will be offering support to any of them who need it.”
Dargan’s family confirmed last Thursday that his body would be flown home to Australia after $70,000 was raised on a GoFundMe page.
In a statement, they said: “On behalf of Troy (TJs) parents, siblings and family, we wish to express our genuine gratitude to all those who contributed to bringing our son home.
“We understand that this financial climate makes it extremely difficult for families, especially at Xmas time.
“We are thankful that our family have been in your thoughts, The outpouring of love and support we have received since the passing of our son, has been extremely overwhelming and deeply felt from us as his parents and broader family.
“We cannot start to express our gratitude to the NRL community and particularly the clubs Troy (TJ) had played for over the years.
“Due to the overwhelming receipt of donations via go fund me, we have well exceeded the amount necessary to bring our son home. We will be closing the account today. We will never have enough ‘thank yous’ for your thoughts, prayers and love.
“Please know that all the messages, comments, calls and loving conversations, have been the only way we’ve been able to get through the most traumatic, distressing time in our lives.
“We are in shock to know that our son made such an impression on so many people across Australia and abroad. In the next week or so, we will be able to provide details of his funeral arrangements, for anyone who wishes to say their last goodbyes.