NRL community mourns loss of former star
RUGBY LEAGUE: To his football friends, Chad Robinson was the life of the party.
One of the genuinely good guys you'd love to have a beer with.
But the highs Robinson experienced were often accompanied by agonising lows. It was a downside few people knew about.
The bottom of a bushland gorge was the final tragic resting place for the former Parramatta Eels and Roosters forward, whose body was yesterday discovered in his crushed car in Kenthurst, in Sydney's north-west.
It was the heartbreaking outcome Robinson's family and the rugby league community had dreaded since the father-of-two walked out from his Kellyville home on November 26.
He was barefoot and left without his wallet or phone.
Family and friends, too distraught to speak yesterday after their four-week search for the 36-year-old came to an end, were still coming to terms with the loss.
His silver Subaru wagon, which featured in repeated police appeals for his whereabouts, appeared to have left Marieba Rd in semi-urban Kenthurst, clipping the top of a cliff and plunging down a rock face.
The grisly scene was discovered by electrical workers just after noon. It was about 13km from where he lived in Crestview Ave in Kellyville.
It came just weeks after Robinson's sister Monique Brennan made a desperate public appeal for his return, revealing how they had scoured the local bushwalks and waterfalls her brother loved so much.
Last night the heartbreaking truth prompted a touching tribute.
"It's with a heavy heart that we can confirm that Chad's body was found this afternoon,” a statement on the Let's Find Chad Facebook page said.
"There are no words for our whole family's loss and especially his two beautiful kids.
"Thank you every one of you for your support the last few weeks. Brother, you were the world to all of us, I can't imagine life without you, but you are free, fly high my beautiful brother.”
Robinson's sister, Monique Brennan, took to Facebook at the end of November calling for public assistance in finding Robinson.
Some friends knew of Robinson's struggle, but others said they never saw the signs.
His beloved teenage children Kiara and Cooper, along with his sister Monique, brothers Tim and Scott, and partner Rani Morris, will forever be left wondering.
A distraught Ms Morris yesterday visited the wreckage.
Like many players, Robinson's transition into life after football had its challenges once he hung up the boots in 2009.
After growing up living rugby league in Sydney's north-west, Robinson played 159 NRL games across nine years at the Eels and Roosters, before a final season with Harlequins in the UK Super League.
Former teammate Craig Fitzgibbon described the rugged back-rower as "the best forward at the Roosters” in 2003.
His split from his wife hit Robinson hard. Mates tried to lift his spirits. They brought him in as part of the Parramatta Old Boys group, where former players would come together.
It seemed to help, but, as a lot of things with Robinson, they never really knew.
Ultimately, it wasn't enough. As a friend of Robinson's said last night, he was an "all or nothing” bloke.
New Eels chief executive Bernie Gurr said the club was "devastated”.
Lifeline 13 11 14