Dapto Canaries footballer Tory Brunning dies after collapsing at Saturday game

Tory Brunning pictured recently and, right, as a student at Illawarra Sports High School.The Illawarra Rugby League communityis in shock this weekend, after a young Dapto Canaries player Tory Brunning collapsed and died at a league game on Saturday.

Mr Brunning played against Wests Devils in the reserve grade fixture at Dapto Showground and was due to back-up for the first grade clashat 3pm.

However the promising young player, aged 21, becameill and was withdrawn from the later match.

He collapsed in the dressing sheds where he was treated by the Devils’ team doctor after the first grade game ended.Paramedics were called and he was treated at the scene but could not be revived.

Footballer dies after collapsing at Saturday game TweetFacebook Tory Brunning on the football fieldIn a statement, Country Rugby League said the football fraternity was providing counselling and support for family and friends, as well as those associated with Dapto and Western Suburbs clubs.

“Country Rugby League and Illawarra Division Rugby League extend their deepest sympathies to the family friends and team mates of Dapto player Tory Brunning, who tragically passed away at Dapto Showground on Saturday afternoon,” the statement said.

As the news of Mr Brunning’s death filtered through the football community, tributes have started to flow online.

He was talented and passionatefootball player since his early teens at Illawarra Sports High School, when he was selected to play in the n Combined High Schools team.

He played for the Dapto Canariesfor a number of years and also represented the Steelers junior reps.

On Sunday morning, Collegians football club sent condolences to his family and the Dapto club, while other friends marked Mr Brunning’s death as a tragic loss to the football community.

“It was an honour to play against you, my condolences to his friends and family, R.I.P,”Jordy Tweeddale, of Farmborough Heights wrote on the Illawarra Mercury’swebsite.

He was also remembered for his determination as a player,as a“champion on and off the field” and a“beautiful young gentleman”.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Tory’s family and the boys who played by his side – stay brave, remember the good times. Called home to soon,”Wollongong councillor and Dapto resident Chris Connor wrote.

Messages poured in from Mr Brunning’s hometown ofWaitara, in New Zealand.

“To our bros in Aussie we extend our aroha and thank you all for providing Tory with so much support to follow his dreams,” the Tamaki familysaid.

Country Rugby League hasnot released details about how Mr Brunning died and said it would not be making further comment“out of respect for his family”.

Read community tributes to Mr Brunning here

Illawarra Mercury

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