Rugby League is a tough, beautiful game played by men who are themselves always tough but rarely beautiful. In many ways Terry Newton was the stereotypical rugby league player. Tough, uncompromising and with a face for radio. The trap is to assume that such people have no inner life, that the apparent simplicity of their actions on the field is reflected in a simplicity of thought off the field.
Less than a year into a two-year ban for taking illegal substances, Terry Newton killed himself. He was 31. If he felt abandoned by the game that he had served so well – 15 Super League seasons, 15 caps for Great Britain – then it’s no comfort that the game is now devestated by his sudden death. Rugby league is the ultimate tightknit community and the grief is near universal.
There have to be questions about what support is available for players when they leave the game – even when that departure is hastened by a ban. But, for now, only one statement is needed:
Terry Newton, RIP.