Sport

Rugby league community comes together for Zane

TRIBUTE: Sydney Roosters, pictured on Anzac Day, will pause with the Canterbury Bulldogs to remember Zane Purcell ahead of tonight’s NRL clash in Sydney.
TRIBUTE: Sydney Roosters, pictured on Anzac Day, will pause with the Canterbury Bulldogs to remember Zane Purcell ahead of tonight’s NRL clash in Sydney. AAP/Joel Carrett

THE tragic on-field death of Zane Purcell has shaken the rugby league community around the world with many bonding together to support his family and his team-mates.

Before the beginning of tonight's National Rugby League clash between the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and the Sydney Roosters a minute's silence will be held to honour the life of Purcell.

Players will also don black armbands in memory of Purcell and his efforts on the rugby league field.

Roosters spokeswoman Alex Phillips spoke about the sadness associated with the loss of a member of the rugby league fraternity.

"Like everyone in the rugby league community, we have been saddened by the news," Phillips said.

"We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Zane Purcell, the Lower Clarence Magpies Rugby League Club and the broader community."

The Bulldogs club were also quick to pass on their condolences to the Purcell family and explained that they were wearing the armbands in his honour.

"A member of the rugby league community has passed doing what he loved," a Bulldogs spokesman said. "Rugby league is a family and as such we support our own through the tough times.

"Friday night is a chance for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs to pay their respects to the Purcell family, Zane's friends and the Lower Clarence side when we run out on to the field."

Purcell died on Sunday afternoon after attempting to make a tackle during the Lower Clarence Magpies and Ballina Seagulls reserve grade game.

Purcell's family expect the coroner's examination to reveal that his death was caused by an ongoing heart condition.

NRL head of football Todd Greenberg sent condolences on behalf of the entire rugby league community.

"This is an appropriate tribute to Zane - a man who lost his life playing the game he loved," Mr Greenberg said. "On behalf of the entire rugby league community, we offer our condolences to Zane's wife and daughter, family and friends.

"The Country Rugby League is providing support to Zane's family to assist them through this incredibly difficult time."

Lower Clarence Magpies president Steve Austine said he could not believe the amount of support that had flowed in from the rugby league community, even from the far reaches of the world.

"It has just been so incredible," he said.

"The reach that some people have come from to show their support for our club and Zane's family is amazing.

"We have messages from different people across the world sharing their condolences and offering their support. We even had a person from Switzerland send their support across."

The amount of support has helped give the club the strength to lace up their boots for this Sunday's clash against Murwillumbah Mustangs.

"In a time of need the rugby league clubs of the world really bond together in support. It is not just a community, it is a rugby league family."

Topics:  lower clarence magpies, rugby league, zane purcell



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