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Rising Aboriginal footy star took his own life after his family went to visit friends

Aboriginal footy star, 17, committed suicide after ‘alcohol put him in a bad frame of mind’ while his family were away for the weekend – as his grieving dad says death has ‘ruined his life’

  • Anthony Drew, 17, was with the Red Centre Pioneer Footy Club in Alice Springs 
  • He just finished Year 12 and was going to study business at a Sydney university 
  • When his family left to visit relatives in January 2019, Anthony took his own life

A rising Aboriginal football star took his own life after alcohol put him in a ‘bad frame of mind’, his father has revealed. 

Anthony Drew, 17, from Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory, was a popular teenager who played for the Red Centre Pioneer Football Club. 

He had just finished Year 12 and won a place to study business at a university in Sydney with aspirations of eventually running his own company. 

But in January 2019, Anthony committed suicide without warning after his family went to Melbourne for the weekend. 

Anthony Drew, 17, from Alice Springs, in the and played for the Red Centre Pioneer Football Club. He had just finished Year 12 and won a place to study business at a university in Sydney with aspirations of running his own company 

Greg Drew said he did not suspect his son would ever take his own life or he would leave without saying goodbye.  

‘I feel like it’s ruined my life. It’s turned my whole world upside down. It’s just changed everything,’ Mr Drew told The Australian. 

Mr Drew said Anthony was a happy child who enjoyed music, sports and spent a lot of time with his younger siblings who looked up to him.  

‘That’s what makes it so hard because there were just no signs. It (suicide) was the last thing that ­entered my mind because he was always so happy.’ 

So far 78 Indigenous people have taken their own lives this year including 20 children.

Anthony was the fourth player on his rugby team to take their own life in less than three years.

The Northern Territory has the highest rates of suicide in the country and disproportionately affects Aboriginals.  

'I feel like it's ruined my life'; Greg Drew said he did not suspect his son would ever take his own life or he would leave without saying goodbye.

‘I feel like it’s ruined my life’; Greg Drew said he did not suspect his son would ever take his own life or he would leave without saying goodbye.

Mr Drew said Anthony was under the influence of alcohol the night he died and believes it put him in a negative frame of mind.  

‘I know he would’ve rung his siblings, or me, to say goodbye, because he was a really caring kid … I just think that he was in a bad place and, unfortunately, we will have to live with that and regret it, which is the hardest, hardest thing.’ 

The president of Pioneer FC Owen Cole said Anthony’s death had traumatised the local community. 

According to Australian Indigenous Health, suicide occurs at a much greater rate among Indigenous Australians.  

It has been estimated that alcohol is associated with 40 per cent of male and 30 per cent of female suicides within the Indigenous Australian population. 

A GoFundMe page has been set up to support Anthony Drew’s family and has raised over $13,000.  

For confidential support call the Lifeline 24-hour crisis support on 13 11 14.

 

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