R.I.P. Halley Appleby - Green and Gold Rugby

R.I.P. Halley Appleby

R.I.P. Halley Appleby

Halley Appleby

In the Queensland Premier Rugby match on the weekend between University and GPS, Uni hooker Halley Appleby was involved in a serious accident and unfortunately has lost his fight for life.

I was given this note by Catriona, a Sports Trainer and Medic with the Uni team. I think it sums it up well:

Uni vs GPS games are always hard-fought, tough encounters played in the sprit that rugby is intended. Like so many of the Premier teams throughout Brisbane players on both sides went to school together, played club football together, and know the same people. In short, they’re mates.

Heather and I have been involved with Uni for more than ten years each as sports trainers on a volunteer basis. In that time, we both feel that the greatest reward we have received is getting to know these fantastic people & their families, and being a part of the in-jokes and camaraderie that we’ve only ever found around rugby. The boys become like family, like a hundred little brothers you laugh with, laugh at, and care for.

On Saturday one of our boys went into what we’d all consider a good hit. In a one in a billion freak event this time he didn’t get up. It was our worst nightmare, and it was happening to one of our cheeky little brothers. In true rugby family fashion, anyone in the crowd who thought they might be able to help came down and offered to help.

We’ve been asked over and over again if we’re ok, if we need anything, how we’re feeling, what happened. How do you answer those questions? There are no words to express our grief. The outpouring of support to Halley’s family and club mates is overwhelming. It’s also much appreciated, and will be needed in the coming days, weeks and months.

In all of this we also ask for the same level of support and compassion to be given to the GPS boys. The tackle was hard but fair as a Premier grade tackle should be. There were no extenuating circumstances, it was just one of those things. Every player has been both a recipient and a giver of that exact tackle hundreds or thousands of times. It was just one of those things.  There were 2 teams out there on the weekend, and everyone lost someone and something. This was a horrible tragic accident and I can’t even begin to imagine how they are feeling. Halley was doing what he loved against boys he had known for years. He played the game as hard as they did.


It is important to note that — in an indication of Halley’s character — he has donated his organs and he will live on improving five other people’s lives.

On behalf of Green and Gold Rugby we would like to express our deepest sympathies to Halley’s family and the players from both clubs, as well as others in the wider rugby community affected by this tragedy.

Vale Halley Appleby.

EDIT: We have just been given the funeral details.

Halley Appleby funeral details: 11am Friday @ Gregson & Weight Funeral Directors & Mortuary Service. 34 National Park Rd, Nambour.

If you can get along to show support to the family and both teams, I am sure it would be appreciated.

  • Jets

    RIP Halley. Although I was never lucky enough to meet you the stories I have heard indicate you were a great guy. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and all of the members of the UQ Rugby family.

    • Lucy

      What a tragedy to happen ! I feel very sympathetic for his family and if I could stop this I would! U sound like an amazing person and this never should have happened… My prayers are with u

  • Patrick

    Wow, my thoughts and prayers as well, what a tragedy.

  • Scott Allen

    An absolute tragedy. RIP Halley and best wishes to all involved.

  • Wallaby Fan 2011

    This has hit me hard over the last couple of days and i never met the young bloke. A true champion to the very end with him donating his organs. RIP Halley rest assured the rugby community is behind your family, girlfriend and team mates in these very dark times.

  • rigz23

    Absolutely terrible. Friends, family, and team mates, my condolences.

  • Linda

    “Parents hold their children’s hands for just a little while .. their hearts forever”

    My thoughts and prayers are with Halley’s loved ones at this very sad time…

    RIP Halley

  • Zeno

    Nice tribute, Timmsy. Cat’s words are full of feeling, and good sense.

    • Matt Brandon

      Absolute tragedy. Was a pleasure to play against him. Was a tough hooker. Condolences to his family and friends.

  • bill

    Sweet(very truly said Cat).

  • Bob

    Would he have wanted to go any other way……

  • Thoughts to all involved, a real tragedy.

    Well said Cat.

  • Manu

    A true tragedy for rugby all over the world. My deepest and most sincere condolences to the family, friends and teammates.

    Paris, France

  • Thomas

    I also hope the guy who made the tackle is doing alright as although non of this was intended I am sure the feelings of guilt and sorrow must be affecting him quite badly.

    • Great point Thomas

      He is probably in one of the hardest positions of all.

      I certainly hope he doesn’t blame himself, he needs to be surrounded by a strong support network at the moment, as do all involved.

      The whole event is just a massive tragedy.

    • mark conley

      well said Thomas

      and all the best to the family / friends

  • bill

    Who was that african soccer player who died on the field? One of the best ways to go yes, but in a sense ….. There’s so much left undone.

  • James Kite

    I am a proud GPS man through and through and apart from the deepest and most humble condolences to Halley, his family, his friends and the UQ rugby fraternity I would also like to extend my greatest and sincerest thanks to Cat for this piece. We have been left particularly devastated at the extraordinary circumstances we have found ourselves in as a club, that was the team that opposed Halley and his team on the day.

    I am so grateful that Cat has captured the fact that the tragic accident occurred in an encounter where both teams were playing the game, the way the game is meant to be played, hard and fair. In times like this, it is hard to find any solace in such a tragic loss but the most significant thing to be gained in a time where there is not too much to be gained, is that behind all our tribal affiliations that say we belong to a Sunnybank, or that we belong to a Uni, or we belong to a GPS etc etc, underneath those colours when you strip it all down, we are all united by the fact that we belong to a special family that play and devote our energies to a game whose fundamentals capture the universal theme of unity. (People of all cultures, body shapes, backgrounds can play, and do so together.) The compassion taken to acknowledge the clarity required of others towards people from my club makes me believe in this unison even more.

    Thank you so much for this piece I know as a member of the GPS club it was an issue I was still grappling with, and something Im sure others were as well. The amount of clarity required to write this in a time when everything is so chaotic truly humbles one blessed with the opportunity just to be involved in our great game.

    R.I.P Halley our prayers and thoughts to your family and loved ones in this very difficult time who are first in foremost in our thinking.

  • Rob Murdoch

    Cat – at a time where it feels words seem to fail to deliver comprehension and the unfairness of it all, you have done such a beautiful representation.

    RIP Halley and all strength to those at UQ Rugby

  • Viko

    An absolute tragedy, much love to the Appleby family, UQ Rugby Club and the Nudgee College community. Halley is now playing the game that’s played in heaven, forevermore x

  • Erika Maass

    In behalve off the Rotterdam Rugby Club our deepest condolances to the family, the teammates and friends off Halley.
    And a lot off strength to the guy who tackled.

    In name off RRC
    Erika Maass

  • Jerem

    RIP Halley

  • Hugo Calvet

    rest in peace buddy, we’re all thinking of you!!

  • Richos

    Gut-wrenching thing to happen to a great guy – thoughts go out to his family, girlfriend and everyone personally effected by this.. RIP Halley

  • Pete

    Terrible news. Glad to hear that he has donated his organs. Organs from a fit young bloke like this will do a lot of good.

  • How sad, hope the donated organs help others to live through this tragic event

  • Badger

    From all accounts – sounds like a massive loss to all who knew the man and all who missed out on meeting him. A tragedy playing the game they play in heaven. Rip Halley and condolences to all those who loved this bloke

  • B Collie

    Brought to tears reading these words from all who have posted. My young son will continue to play this great game and watch the older boys and men inspired by their love if our game. To the Appleby family and close friends of Halley I wish you find the strength to move forward after such a huge loss and know you are in so many people’s thoughts today and over the days weeks and years ahead.

  • Paul

    My prayers are with you Halley and those who are left behind to grieve. May only good come from here forward

  • robbo999

    RIP Halley. Everyone else has said it for me.

    I note that many people have commented positively on Halley’s organ donation. How many of you have made it clear that you too would be willing to donate your organs in the hopefully unlikely event of your accidental death?

    Go to Medicare (by now I am sure you can do it online), register, carry the card in your wallet or purse at all times. Tell your family what your wishes are. You just might save someone’s life. If Halley’s tragic death noticeably raises the level of organ donation registration in this country then one small bit of good will have come from it.

  • Well said robbo999.
    You can register to be an organ and tissue donor online at:

    Discover the facts about organ and tissue donation
    Decide whether you would like to be a donor
    Discuss it with your family and friends

  • Anne

    My thoughts and prayers are with Halleys family and friends. I am sure that Halley will now be “Playing the only game they play in Heaven”. Dorm Mother(Nudgee College)

  • R.I.P Halley.

    My deepest condolences to the Appleby family and friends.

    From an admire,
    Surry Hills, NSW.

  • Charles

    Jesus this is a terrible event… Anyway. Be safe sportsmen and women. Things like this makes it real huh? Scary. Good luck out there on the fields, and whatever deity you wish for, I hope it is with you.


Steve Timms, He likes watching the odd game of Rugby, occasionally writes about it.. Proud member of the original Mudchooks.

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