A haunting picture has captured the devastating impact of the Hunter Valley bus crash on a local footy club.
The Singleton Roosters AFL football club lost seven players from its women’s and men’s sides when a coach carrying 35 wedding guests toppled onto a guard rail at a roundabout near Greta around 11.30pm last Sunday.
Not since the Bali bombings in 2002, when seven Perth Kingsley AFL Football players and six Coogee Dolphins Rugby League players lost their lives, has an Australian sports club been so impacted by tragedy.
The five members of the women’s side, nicknamed the Roosterettes, who died are coach Nadene Mc Bride, her daughter and vice-captain Kyah McBride, captain Tori ‘Torsy’ Cowburn, Bec Mullen and Lynan Scott.
From the men’s team, Andrew Scott (Lynan’s husband) and Kane Symons (Kyah’s partner) died in the crash.
An eerie social media post laid bare the toll on the club. It featured a photo of the women’s team celebrating their 2020 premiership win.
Five Singleton Roosters women’s team members have died. Pictured above is the victorious 2020 team after their premiership win, circled front, Nadene McBride, Tori Cowburn and Kyah McBride, and Bec Mullen behind Kyah
The wedding couple’s emcee, Alex Tigani, posted a photo of crash victims Nadine McBride, Tori Cowburn and Kyah McBride with the caption ‘Three angels on my shoulder’
Husband and wife Singleton Roosters players Andrew and Lynan Scott (left) and Kyah McBride’s partner, Kane Symons, all died in the crash a few days after winning spots in this season’s representative sides
Emcee Alex Titania posted a photo of Singleton team player crash victims Nadine McBride, Tori Cowburn and Kyah McBride which he captioned ‘three angels on my shoulder’.
On Saturday, Australian football teams marked the tragedy with tributes to the players who died in the crash.
Roosters player Bree Howard, whose brother Sam was the fiancé of Bec Mullen, wrote next to the post: ‘There are never enough words to describe the feelings we are all facing right now. You are all loved. You are all missed. You are all going to be remembered’
More than 20 years ago, 88 Australians were killed in the Kuta Beach nightclub blasts, including more than a dozen sporting club members who had flown from Australia for end-of-season celebrations.
In Sunday night’s crash, the Singleton Roosters not only lost players, but others were injured and the couple whose wedding tragically preceded the incident, Mitchell Gaffney and Maddy Edsell, were also members.
Bree Howard, whose brother Sam’s partner Bec Mullen died in the crash, posted this image of flowers and the Roosters’ home ground goal posts, writing ‘ You are all loved. You are all missed. You are all going to be remembered’
Singleton Roosters women’s vice captain Kyah Mc Bride, pictured left with her parents Graham ‘Banger’ and Roosters coach Nadene McBride, were all victims of the bus crash with Kyah (also, right, above) dying alongside her mother and Banger injured
Graham ‘Banger’ McBride, who lost his wife Nadene and daughter Kyah, as well as Kyah’s partner Kane Symons, was in hospital during the week recovering after being injured in the crash.
Ten days before his marriage to Ms Edsell before 100 guests at Wandin Estate winery in the Hunter Valley, Mitchell Gaffney was named as the ‘player to watch’ in an upcoming game against Newcastle.
One of ‘only two Roosters to score a goal against Newcastle City in season 2022’, Mr Gaffney was named just last weekend in the men’s side for the upcoming match .
And just two days before the tragedy, Nadene McBride was named as the AFL Hunter Central Coast senior annual representative 2023 season women’s coach, with fellow crash victims Lynan Scott and Kyah McBride named in the representative side.
Ms McBride, who worked for Rio Tinto as a maintenance supervisor, helped found the Roosters women’s team and turned them into a premiership force.
The wedding couple’s emcee, Alex Tigani, who is recovering from injuries in the crash, was was named as team manager.
Ms Scott’s husband, Andrew Scott, and Kane Symons who both died in the crash, were named in the men’s rep side.
BH Billiton worker Tyrone Gersch, the partner of crash victim Tori Cowburn (Tori pictured, left) posted a tender tribute on Facebook (right) on Thursday, with the Singleton Roosters’ logo superimposed with a white heart.
The Scotts leave behind two young children orphaned by the crash.
In the October 2020 photo of the victorious Singleton Roosterettes women’s side, Nadene McBride and Tory Cowburn jointly hold aloft the winning trophy after they defeated the favourites, the Lake Macquarie Dockers team.
In a dramatic and unexpected winning premiership match, the defensive efforts of captain Tori Cowburn were praised, as were those of Kyah McBride,, who along with Bree Howard and Kalani Bates, scored two goals apiece.
Player-coach Nadene McBride later said she would have found it hard to believe they would win at the beginning of the season, and Tori Cowburn said in her captain’s speech she couldn’t have foreseen it five years earlier.
‘It’s been a long slog, we’ve had a couple of tough years but we’ve just put the effort in and all of our support staff have put the effort in,’ she said, reported the Singleton Argus.
‘The girls have just kept coming back each and every week, and there’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears but we got there.’
Along with other Singleton Roosters members, Alex Tigali (above, right) was named as AFL Hunter Central Coast team manager just days before he emceed at player Mitchell Gaffey’s fateful wedding to Maddy Edsell
Bus driver Brett Button, 58, is on bail to face court next in August charged with ten counts of dangerous driving occasioning death and one count of negligent driving occasioning death
Four years ago, Maddy Edsell played in the side with her older sister Brenna Edsell, as a guest player when she was visiting from Melbourne.
‘It was great being able to show her how supportive the Roosters are both on and off the field and she too really felt the support,’ Ms Edsell said at the time.
The wedding couple, Maddy and Mitchell Gaffney moved from Victoria to Singleton six years ago to start new lives, making a wide range of friends both in the Singleton Roosters and in the mining industry, where Mr Gaffney worked alongside Lynan Scott.
Tori Cowburn’s partner, BH Billiton worker Tyrone Gersch, posted a tender tribute on Facebook on Thursday with the Singleton Roosters’ logo superimposed with a white heart.
AFL Hunter Central Coast cancelled all its games this weekend, and its annual representative seniors match against the South Coast which had been scheduled for July 1.
Bus driver Brett Button, 58, is on bail to face court next in August charged with ten counts of dangerous driving occasioning death and one count of negligent driving occasioning death.