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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Ryan Tandy: Ex-Whitehaven team-mates pay tribute

Former Whitehaven team-mates have led tributes to prop Ryan Tandy who has died in Australia aged 32.

Ryan Tandy photo
Ryan Tandy

The Aussie, who had two spells at the Recre and featured in their second-tier Grand Finals in 2004 and 05, was found dead at his parents’ home on the NSW central coast, after a suspected drug overdose.

Kiwi fellow front-rower David Fatialofa, a Recre favourite for over a decade, said: “I was shocked and saddened when I heard the news. He was too young to go.

“He showed potential at Whitehaven and went on to the field like a seasoned pro at a young age.

“I’ve been fortunate to play with some really good overseas front-rowers as well as locals and he’s up there as one of the best. He was a devastating ball-runner and put himself about in defence as well. He had a few clubs over here and his time in England obviously matured him because he then popped up in the NRL.

“It sounds like he had a lot of off-field issues but that doesn’t take away from the kind of bloke he was. At 32 he had so much ahead of him.”

Tandy also featured for Barrow, Widnes and Doncaster and made 12 Super League appearances for Hull KR in 2007.

He starred for Ireland at the 2008 World Cup and went on to play 13 top-flight games Down Under before capping a fairytale rise at 28, playing for Melbourne Storm in their NRL Grand Final win against Parramatta in front of over 80,000 fans in 2009.

But his career was brought to a premature end when banned from the NRL for life after being convicted of placing a bet on a match in which he was playing for Canterbury Bulldogs against North Queensland in 2010.

David Seeds, Haven’s all-time leading try-scorer who also played alongside Tandy in the club’s consecutive Grand Finals, remembered him as a down-to-earth character

“I remember saying to people that I had played with a player who had won a Grand Final in the NRL,” said Seeds, who went on to coach Haven.

“It was a big honour for myself, never mind Ryan. He was a very good player and a real character, but when it came to rugby he was very serious about it, and he was a big contributor for us.”

Dave Farrell, chairman of fans group Trust in Haven, also hailed Tandy’s contribution to the club.

“Ryan was part of the glory years under Steve McCormack,” he said. “And he went on to prove how good he was by cutting it in the NRL. We retain good memories of Ryan and send condolences to his family.”

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