Joel Dark has died in hospital after a “horrible” incident played out in front of friends and family.
Joel Dark has died in hospital after a “horrible” incident played out in front of friends and family.

Rugby league player dead after on-field accident

Rugby league player Joel Dark has died in hospital five days after a horrific accident on the footy field.

The NSWRL and John Hunter Hospital on Friday both confirmed Dark passed away on Friday morning.

The 19-year-old suffered a serious head injury while he was making his first grade debut for Newcastle Central on Sunday and was rushed to the hospital for emergency brain surgery.

According to reports, the injury was so severe, Dark was seen having a seizure on the field.

A teammate, who is also a trained firefighter performed CPR on Dark before paramedics arrived.

The NSWRL issued a statement to confirm the heartbreaking news.

"The NSW Rugby League is saddened to hear of the tragic passing today of Central Newcastle player Joel Dark," the statement claimed.

"Joel, 19, had been in a critical condition in John Hunter Hospital since he collapsed on field during a Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League First Grade match against Western Suburbs at St John Oval on Sunday 6 September.


Boyd Cordner and Joel Dark with family.
Boyd Cordner and Joel Dark with family.

"The family has requested that their privacy be respected during this very difficult time.

"They have expressed their gratitude to the Central Newcastle Rugby League Football Club, staff at the John Hunter Hospital and all those who have assisted and supported the family during this time.

"The Newcastle Rugby League has postponed all fixtures for this weekend out of respect for Joel and his family.

"The NSWRL and the Rugby League community extend their most sincere condolences to Joel's family."

Roosters star and Kangaroos captain Boyd Cordner was earlier this week given permission to leave the club's biosecurity bubble to be with his cousin and family as Dark fought for life.

Newcastle Central president Heath Anderson described the incident where Dark suffered the injury in front of family and friends watching on from the sideline as "horrible".

"He had surgery late last night and surgery again today," Anderson told the

"The good thing about Joel is he is a tough kid from the bush and he's good a lot of people around him."

The match between Newcastle Central and Western Suburbs was abandoned following the incident.

A GoFundMe page was established to support his friends and family during this time.

Originally published as Rugby league player dead after horror