CQ league community mourns much-loved player
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Central Queensland rugby league community is in mourning following the passing of Reggie Saunders.
Tributes are flowing for the much-loved, hard-working forward who played his last game for the CQ Capras in Round 14 of the 2013 season.
He selflessly called time on his Capras career to move to the Gold Coast to care for his cousin Jeremias Blackman, who suffered serious spinal and leg injuries in a car crash at the end of 2011.
Saunders, who was aged in his late 20s, died at the weekend, prompting a wave of heartfelt messages of love and support on Facebook.
The Capras posted: "The CQ Capras family would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family of Reggie Saunders. Our thoughts and prayers are with Reggie's family and friends."
Saunders played alongside the likes of Cameron Munster, Ian Webster and Gavin Hiscox at the Capras, and was coached by John Harbin and Jason Hetherington.
Hetherington paid tribute to Saunders following his last game against the Easts Tigers, saying he had been a tower of strength for the team.
"He will be missed as a player but also as a great person. I knew as soon as I saw him he would be a crowd favourite and that's what happened," Hetherington said at the time.
Saunders reignited his league career in 2014, trialling with the Newcastle Knights, and most recently played with clubs including the Mindaribba Warriors.
The Warriors, for whom Saunders proudly wore the No.10 jersey, wrote in a post that they were "deeply saddened by the news of our Warrior Reg Saunders".
"We would like to pass on our sincere condolences to the Saunders family and also to the brothers and sisters who also became family to Reg," it read.
"We will miss that infectious smile and personality, but most of all we will miss that feeling of what it was to pull on that Minda jersey with you.
"Hopefully you are at peace, gone but never forgotten. You will always be a part of the Minda family."
Capras' stalwart Guy Williams said he too was saddened and shocked by the news.
"It's tragic," Williams said.
"Reggie was always a really bright, happy, cheerful character and a great guy to be around."