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Thread: Rugby honours slain Ellenbrook family

  1. #1
    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    West Leederville

    Rugby honours slain Ellenbrook family

    July 21, 2018 6:00PM

    LITTLE Rua Petersen should have been running around with his mates today playing his beloved rugby.
    The eight-year-old’s mother Michelle Petersen and 15-year-old sister Bella should have been cheering him on from the sidelines.

    Instead, WA’s rugby community united in grief to pay tribute to three lives lost in an unthinkable tragedy.

    Ms Petersen, a 48-year-old mother of eight, and her two youngest children were killed in their Ellenbrook home early last Sunday morning in a crime that horrified even seasoned detectives. Her son and their brother Teancum Vernon Petersen-Crofts, 19, has been charged with their murders.

    Rua played in the under-9 squad for Perth-Bayswater Rugby Union Club, his mum had been a staunch member of the club and Bella had played for its girls’ team last year.

    Young teammates struggled to hide their sorrow and hugged their parents, while adults too wiped away tears. Only last week they had been playing with Rua by their side.

    Tributes to Michelle Petersen and her children Bella and Rua were held by the Perth Bayswater Rugby Union Club. Before the first grade match, family members and u9 teammates of Rua led out the team.Picture: The Sunday Times, Ross Swanborough.

    Black armbands were worn, a minute’s silence was respected before every game, the club signed Rua’s No.2 jumper and family fundraisers were held.

    While games were played and parents still barracked, grey skies and falling rain matched the sombre atmosphere at Morley’s Pat O’Hara Reserve.

    In a touching tribute, Petersen family members and Rua’s teammates led out the club’s first-grade team before the final match. Relatives and friends then took part in a stirring performance of the haka.

    Western Force players and Rugby WA hierarchy were also on hand today to offer their support.

    In a statement, the club and the entire “rugby family” said its hearts went out to the Petersen family and friends at “this sad and devastating time”.

    “It is hard to put into words the loss of loved ones,” it stated.

    “The Petersens were not only proud members, but family of the (club) for several years and will be sorely missed not only
    around our club but throughout the WA rugby community overall.”

    “Rugby in WA is not only about participating in a sport, but being part of a bigger family community, which is diverse in many cultures and for acceptance of others.

    “On behalf of the wider WA rugby community we ask the wider community to pray for not only those that we have lost but also those family members left behind.”

    Rugby WA Juniors president Frances Hall said the support from all over the State had been incredible. She said Teancum’s twin brother and older sister had spoken to the under-9s parents this week.

    “The remaining family members are in shock. They’re trying to come to grips with it all,” she said.

    “Teancum’s brother just hugged me and held me for 10 minutes, that’s all he could do, he didn’t know what to say or do.

    “His sister is being incredibly strong … she said to me, ‘I sort of feel like they’re still here’, it’s surreal to her. I thought it was incredibly brave of them to come in, but they need support too and they want to support us.”

    Ms Hall said this tragedy highlighted the need for more focus on youth mental health.

    The club lost another of its own last year when 13-year-old Jimi McDowell took his own life. Headspace staff set up a tent today at the oval to talk to anyone who needed it.

    Ms Hall, whose eldest son went to high school with Teancum and his brother, said this tragedy was difficult to process, especially for younger kids.

    “It’s all over the media … so there are a lot of questions. We’ve tried to keep it age appropriate obviously and explain that yes, something terrible has happened but we’re all coming together and we’re all going to get through this together as one big family,” she said.

    Rugby WA chief executive Bob Hunter was also in the crowd today and said the sense of community and support shone through, adding sport was one way to help in the healing process.

    “I think for everyone the tragedy of the event is significant and then everyone goes how do you deal with that? I think from a sport perspective, it’s alright, let’s get out and play the game and celebrate it as best we can for those we’ve lost,” he said.

    A community candlelight memorial service will be held for the Petersens tomorrow at Midland Sports Complex between 12pm and 3pm.

    If you or someone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.

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  2. #2
    Senior Player
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Its dead set broken my heart hearing about this tragedy! Please peoples there's no shame in putting your hand up for help.

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  3. #3
    Champion andrewM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Kudos to RugyWA Juniors for how they have handled this.

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  4. #4
    Veteran valzc's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    Denmark WA
    So sad, tragic & a shame that this could happen so easily in todays society - it's a tragedy that we can't deal properly with these things earlier.

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