‘He didn’t want to play anymore’: Rising star saw no way out
A friend has revealed how bright young Bulldogs prospect Ziggie Vincent was "over" football and saw no way out before taking his own life on Saturday.
The young indigenous player from Griffith, NSW, was homesick and desperately wanted leave rugby league to return to his home town before making the tragic decision to end his life.
His best friend and former teammate, Epeli Serukabaivata, revealed Vincent had lost his love of the game and didn't want to continue trialling for Canterbury's Jersey Flegg team.
"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," Serukabaivata told The Daily Telegraph.
"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."
Vincent's passing has made an enormous impact across the rugby league community. Serukabaivata said he hoped that the tragedy would encourage people struggling with their mental health to speak up.
"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."
Vincent had been staying with NRL and boxing legend Anthony Mundine, who took to social media to mourn his passing.
"I let Zig know I was always there for him … but a lot of these brothers feel like they're a burden," Mundine said.
"But they're actually not. They're just shy and don't want to bring their problems on anyone else.
"I wish he would have reached out to me or somebody."
Bulldogs players and staff have been offered counselling by the club.
"Although Ziggie was only around the club for six weeks as a triallist 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," a club statement read.
"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."