Former NRL star Tu’u Maori has passed away from Motor Neurone Disease at the age of 33
Maori represented the Sydney Roosters in the Toyota Cup in 2008 – a stint which earned him a call-up to the Papua New Guinea World Cup squad in the same year.
Maori, who could play anywhere along the backline as well as at halfback, played for the Newtown Jets, the Roosters’ feeder club in the NSWRL Cup competition, in 2009.
The PNG international would then go on to play for the Cronulla Sharks in the 2011 NSW Cup.
His story has been best described by himself on his GoFundMe page:
“Hello and Greetings to you all. My name is Tu’u Gray Maori and I was once a healthy and strong rugby league player. A rugby ball was my best friend. As a child I first grabbed a rugby ball as soon as I could walk.
“My love of the game has seen me play for the Richmond Bulldogs, Cronulla Sharks, Melbourne Storm and proudly represented Papua New Guinea, before settling in Brisbane and playing for the Ipswich Jets. Yes #IAMAJET and I played for the Ipswich Jets for six years. In 2015 I was given the great honor and privilege to Captain the Ipswich Jets BRL team to the finals and won. A milestone I will never forget.
“My life is rugby league; always has been and always will be. However, in early February 2019 my life took a turn, when I was diagnosed with MND (Motor Neurone Disease).
“Once I was diagnosed, my life has not been the same. I not only lost myself, I lost my job, I nearly lost my home, I lost my self-confidence and I’m losing my ability to drive. I was lost in a maze where I couldn’t find my way out. My muscles were weakening and are continuing to weaken rapidly. I struggle to come to terms with my condition daily, but with the support of my family and friends I will continue to fight.
“I can only ask you all for your help and join me in Fighting MND and finding a cure.
“With a lot of love and respect,
“Tu’u G Maori #IAMAJET”.
Everyone at Serious About Rugby League passes on their deepest sympathies to Tu’u Maori’s friends and family.