Rugby league is mourning its second tragic loss in a matter of days following the death of Canberra Raiders player Troy Dargan.
The 26-year-old died on Christmas Eve after being involved in a motorcycle accident while on holidays with his family in the Cook Islands, his management announced.
His death comes days after the sudden passing of former Queensland Origin star Carl Webb. The ex-Broncos, Cowboys and Eels forward died on Thursday night after a four-year battle with Motor Neurone Disease. Webb was 42.
Dargan, who was known as TJ to his family and close friends, had only last month signed a contract to join the Raiders on a development deal, to add to the Green Machine’s halves depth.
The skilled half, played with Manly’s NSWRL feeder club, Blacktown, in 2023.
“On behalf of the Dargan family, it is with a heavy heart that we share the news of TJ’s tragic passing overnight,” ARIA Management Group said in a statement on Monday.
“He and his family were holidaying in the Cook Islands where TJ was involved in a motorcycle accident.
“TJ was not only an ARIA Sports Group client but a long-time friend and great mate.
“TJ is a beloved son to Troy and Wendy, loving brother to Tamalee and Korokai, and friend to many, many others.
“The family have asked for privacy at this very devastating time. TJ will he greatly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Dargan’s passing was met with immediate shock and grief among his rugby league peers.
“One of the greats. Will miss you brother,” Canterbury captain Reed Mahoney posted on Instagram, while Manly Sea Eagles star Josh Schuster wrote “RIP brother, best bloke”.
“RIP my brother. Love you mate,” Raiders teammate James Schiller added.
Former rugby league winger Daniel Vidot, who is now a professional wrestler in the WWE, wrote “Deepest condolences to the family & friends.”
Dargan made two NRL appearances for South Sydney in 2020, playing at five-eighth alongside Adam Reynolds when he filled in for Cody Walker.
A Parramatta junior, Dargan had stints with Wentworthville, South Sydney and Blacktown in the NSW Cup, and played two internationals for the Cook Islands.
“RIP brother” said Gold Coast winger Greg Marzhew, who played with Dargan in the Eels’ lower grades.
Dargan also had two seasons with the Brisbane Broncos’ feeder club, Norths Devils, in Queensland’s Hostplus Cup competition in 2018-19.
Originally published as NRL rookie Troy Dargan tragically passes away in motorcycle accident on Christmas Eve