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Masada Iosefa dies in quad-bike crash: Tributes flow for Samoan hooker

The NRL and Samoan rugby league communities are in mourning following the tragic death of former Penrith and Wests Tigers hooker Masada Iosefa after a quad-bike accident near Darwin.

He suffered fatal injuries after crashing in the Northern Territory rural township of Herbert on Monday night, the day before his 33rd birthday.

The Samoan-born hooker made his NRL debut for the Panthers in 2008, aged 20, and played 43 matches for the club before switching to the Wests Tigers in 2012. He made a further 14 NRL appearances at the Tigers.

Masada Iosefa's first try in the NRL

Iosefa also represented Samoa in four Tests from 2009-13.

In recent years he played in Queensland for the Capras in the State Cup and turned out for the Rockhampton Brothers Rugby Club in 2020, winning a premiership.

The Samoan Rugby League posted a tribute to Iosefa, describing him as a "tough as nails" player.

 

It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of former Toa Samoa representative, Masada Iosefa. Born in Moto'...

Posted by TOA SAMOA on Monday, January 25, 2021

Former Panthers and Samoan teammate Frank Pritchard posted a heartfelt tribute on Instagram, writing: "Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now.... 

"The Field announcer at the panthers when reading the team list would say at number 9 is the MAYOR OF MOUNTY COUNTY MASADA IOSEFA. #OG Tough as nails, always went hard without any preservation for his body. Never took a step back to any situation.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Frank Pritchard (@pritchardfrank)

"Always had my back from the get go. My lil uso May you fly high now n kick it till we meet again. #Maz Love you USO."

Wade Graham, who debuted at the Panthers alongside Iosefa, offered a heartfelt message.

"I’ll never forget your toughness and tenacity towards training that influenced so many of your young peers at the time trying to make it to the NRL," the now Sharks captain said on Instagram.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Wade Graham (@wadegraham17)

Another former Panthers teammate, Luke Lewis, responded by posting: "Condolences to his family. Saddened to hear the news this morning. May he Rest In Peace."

Wests Tigers hooker Masada Iosefa in 2012.
Wests Tigers hooker Masada Iosefa in 2012. ©NRL Photos

His former Wests Tigers teammate, Keith Galloway, posted on social media that he was shocked by the Iosefa tragedy.

"You were hard as nails, and as rock solid as they come. It’s been a few years, but will always remember you bro! You were one of a kind. I’ll remember our road trip up to Newcastle, our nights out, doing social work visits to Parklea and all the laughs. Rest In Peace Maz #masadaiosefa #OG"

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Keith Galloway (@kgalloway85)

Fellow NRL stars Ben Murdoch-Masila, Braith Anasta, Brad Takairangi, Jeremy Smith, Michael Chee Kam, Sam McKendry and Dene Halatau also posted their sympathies to Iosefa's family online.

Penrith also took to social media to offer their condolences to his loved ones.

The Tigers also paid tribute to "Wests Tigers Player #153".

"Wests Tigers would like to extend its sincerest condolences to the family of former player Masada Iosefa following his tragic passing."

According to a statement issued by the NT Police, a passer-by discovered the quad-bike crash scene on Mckinlay Road, Herbert, and alerted police and emergency services.

Masada Iosefa representing Samoa in 2010.
Masada Iosefa representing Samoa in 2010. ©NRL Photos

"Major Crash detectives attended to investigate the single vehicle crash scene just after 9pm. Initial investigations indicate the man has failed to negotiate a bend, colliding with a guard rail and rolled the bike. The rider was not wearing a helmet.

"Police will now prepare a report for the Coroner."

 

Sadly the club has to share some tragic news. 2020 Premiership player Masada Iosefa was involved in a tragic accident...

Posted by Rockhampton Brothers Rugby Club on Monday, January 25, 2021