Family of Keith Titmuss still searching for answers months after Manly Sea Eagles player’s death

Not a day has gone by since Keith Titmuss was laid to rest that his family haven’t visited his grave. Some days they go twice. And if you happened to drive past Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Leppington on February 12, you would have seen dozens around a barbecue celebrating his 21st birthday.

“It’s our happy place,” Keith’s mother, Lafo, says, bearing a smile to mask the pain. “Zara [Keith’s 13-year-old sister] doesn’t feel like her day will end properly unless she goes and sees her brother.

“She doesn’t say much. She just likes to say, ‘Hi Keith, I love you Keith, goodnight Keith, see you tomorrow’.”

Four months on from the tragedy that cut short the life of one of the NRL’s most promising young stars, the words of the doctors at Royal North Shore are now etched into the memory of those closest to him.

“I’ll never forget those words,” Lafo said. “He came out and said, ‘Keith is no longer with us’. I will never forget that.

“As a parent, you never prepare your child for death. For us, it felt like he was by himself. He was going through something that he hadn’t thought of, nor contemplated that he’d ever have to go through.”

For Keith, life wasn’t complicated. The night before he died, the last time anyone in his family spoke to him, his most pressing concern was why he hadn’t been invited to his cousin’s 16th birthday party at Jamberoo water park.

“He was always a pest, Keith, teasing the girls or annoying his auntie,” Lafo said. “He was complaining about how he didn’t get an invite. When he was going upstairs, he just said, ‘Goodnight, I’ll see you guys later’.”

Keith Titmuss’ family and friends celebrates his 21st birthday at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Leppington in February.

Sadly, he never did. The next morning, at 5.30am, Keith set off on the 90-minute trip from his home in Austral, in south-west Sydney, to Manly’s Narrabeen headquarters for training. It would be his last.

Later that morning, Keith’s father, Paul, received a phone call from Manly’s head of football John Bonasera that would change life as they knew it.

“It’s not common to get phone calls from Manly, but even when we did get the call I didn’t think it was too serious,” Paul admits.

The 20-year-old had collapsed and suffered a seizure following a pre-season training session. Paramedics rushed him to Northern Beaches Hospital, with former Manly player Matt Ballin in the ambulance relaying information back to the family.

The alarm bells began to ring louder when Ballin called the family, who were three kilometres away from the hospital at the time, to notify them that Keith was being urgently transferred to Royal North Shore Hospital.

“That’s when we thought something was seriously wrong,” Paul said.

Keith’s older brother, Jesse, a correctional officer at Silverwater prison, was equally surprised to receive a phone call while at work.

Titmuss in action against the Dragons during the 2019 Jersey Flegg competition.

Titmuss in action against the Dragons during the 2019 Jersey Flegg competition.Credit:NRL Photos

“My dad’s a pretty strong guy, but it sounded like he was crying on the phone,” Jesse said. “He told me to come to hospital now and bring my little sister with me.”

At that time, Titmuss was on life support. An ECMO machine had replaced the function of his heart and lungs.

“I felt like my head was spinning in the room. I couldn’t stop crying,” Lafo said. “The images of Keith from the moment he was born to when we last saw him just kept flashing by.”

Just as Jesse and his sister Zara arrived at Royal North Shore, alongside their parents and Manly coach Des Hasler, they were told their brother was gone.

“To outlive one of your children is one of the most saddest tragedies for a parent,” Hasler said.

“To say goodbye to your son in the morning at the breakfast table and never see him again is always going to be difficult to understand.”

One of the hardest things for the family to comprehend was how Keith had died despite showing no signs he was unwell in the days and weeks leading up to that fateful day, and why they hadn’t been given a chance to say goodbye.

Keith’s dad Paul, sister Zara, mother Lafo, brother Jesse and nephew Hudson looking at family photo albums as they remember the life of their loved one.

Keith’s dad Paul, sister Zara, mother Lafo, brother Jesse and nephew Hudson looking at family photo albums as they remember the life of their loved one.Credit:James Brickwood

“Why didn’t they give us the opportunity to say goodbye to him while he was still alive?” Lafo asked of the hospital. “Who made the decision to turn the life support machine off without consulting or asking Paul and I?”

The Herald contacted Royal North Shore to raise the family’s concerns last week, prompting the hospital’s director of medical services, Philip Hoyle, to contact Paul and Lafo to clarify the events that took place before their son was pronounced dead.

Doctors worked for hours to try to save Keith, trying everything to get his blood circulating, but it was not possible. His heart was not beating and he could not be put on a bypass machine.

The family has since been offered an opportunity to meet with relevant doctors in the coming weeks. The initial autopsy provided no reasons for sudden death, with the family now awaiting the coroner’s investigation to find out why their son’s heart gave out.

The Sea Eagles will honour Titmuss by having his initials on all the club’s junior representative and reserve grade teams.

The Sea Eagles will honour Titmuss by having his initials on all the club’s junior representative and reserve grade teams.Credit:NRL Photos

“I feel like we’re not able to rest easy until we understand why,” Lafo said.

The Herald was told Titmuss was placed on ECMO when he was transferred from Northern Beaches to Royal North Shore, but at no stage was he able to be stabilised. It is understood he died prior to ECMO being withdrawn, rather than dying because ECMO was switched off.

“Just the night before, we were having a good old laugh playing PlayStation,” Jesse said. “Twelve hours later, he’s not with us. That’s hard for me. Just how fast he passed on.”

Dr Roger Harris, a senior intensive care doctor at Royal North Shore Hospital, was not involved in Titmuss’ case but was working the night he died.

“Patients die in ICU everyday but a horrifically confronting death of a young patient so suddenly is devastating and intensely difficult for staff, as well as the entire community,” Dr Harris said.

“The hospital waiting room was filled with 50-odd people holding vigil for Keith. You could just sense the love and courage from the community. You just had to walk through level six and there was this young community of highly engaged people just wanting something.”

After he had died, hospital staff moved Titmuss to another room to allow the family to grieve by his side for a couple of hours before his body was taken to the hospital’s morgue.

While some in their position may hold resentment towards the Sea Eagles, the Titmuss family couldn’t speak highly enough of the club. Though he never made his NRL debut, the Sea Eagles have since added Titmuss to their honour roll as the club’s 623rd first-grader. The club’s junior teams and reserve grade side will also carry Keith’s initials on their jerseys in 2021.

The Titmuss family are still searching for answers regarding Keith’s sudden death.

The Titmuss family are still searching for answers regarding Keith’s sudden death.Credit:James Brickwood

“Des was just such a true leader,” Lafo said. “He and Matt Ballin, the type of support they gave us on that day was just perfect. We knew they were at arm’s reach, but they wouldn’t be in our faces. If we had questions I’d ask Des and he would go find answers.

“They were just solid, outstanding men. They were there when we arrived, and we walked out that night together. They were there for 12 hours with us.”

Very little was said in the car ride home. The family still in shock as the reality of life without Keith began to set in.

“When we saw our front door, knowing that Keith would never walk through that front door, it was so heartbreaking,” Lafo said as she shed tears re-telling the story.

“That night Zara didn’t want to sleep in her bed, so she slept with us. We just laid there looking at the ceiling with tears. We didn’t sleep that night.

“We still haven’t touched his room. It’s too hard to open his wardrobe and see his clothes. You just have images of him wearing those shirts. But that room thankfully still smells like him.”

The Manly Sea Eagles honoured Keith Titmuss by hosting a memorial service at their training ground in Narrabeen.

The Manly Sea Eagles honoured Keith Titmuss by hosting a memorial service at their training ground in Narrabeen.Credit:Manly Sea Eagles Digital

There was a softness to Titmuss that very few would imagine judging by his imposing frame and physicality on a football field. But those close to him, like Canterbury youngster Matt Doorey, saw Titmuss for what he really was.

“If you met him, you’d think he was this big scary dude,” Doorey, who went to school with Titmuss at Westfields Sports High, said.

“Deep down he was such a kind person. Even when he played against his friends, he wouldn’t try and smash you. He’d look after you.”

Titmuss cared for others, even from a young age. In the aftermath of his tragic passing, many stories have been told. None summed him up better than when he purposely tripped himself over as a 10-year-old at training to help his teammate, who had been threatened by his father if he failed to make the tackle on Titmuss.

A decade later, Titmuss was on the verge of achieving a lifelong dream. He had just been elevated to Manly’s 30-man NRL squad and his coach had already begun planning his debut in the upcoming season.

“He was at the stage of making his progression to the NRL, that’s why we retired his number, 623,” Hasler said.

Keith Titmuss scores the match-winning try in the under-20s grand final in 2017.

Keith Titmuss scores the match-winning try in the under-20s grand final in 2017. Credit:NRL Photos

“That was where he was at. A good young player with great leg speed, and he had a bit of skill in him. He was on his way to the NRL. He would’ve been in the mix to make his debut later this year.”

When word of Keith’s death began to make its way around rugby league circles, his friends at several clubs in the NRL were in shock.

“[Wests Tigers prop] Stefano Utoikamanu rang me and told me Keith had died,” Doorey recalled. “I didn’t take it seriously at all. I thought someone was f—— around. Two minutes later my manager rang me and told me the same thing. I couldn’t believe it.”

The family has taken solace in knowing Keith left this world doing what he always wanted to do.

“A week before he passed we had a gym session and he told me, ‘I’m feeling good this year’,” Jesse said of his little brother. “He had done three or four pre-seasons with the NRL but he said, ‘This is the first pre-season I feel ready to go’. It gave me goosebumps hearing that from him.

Gone but never forgotten. A tribute to Keith’s life is on display inside the family’s Austral home.

Gone but never forgotten. A tribute to Keith’s life is on display inside the family’s Austral home.Credit:James Brickwood

“That was his dream. Unfortunately, he passed away trying to live out his dream. There was nothing more he would have loved to do. Just thinking about Manly honouring him with that jersey really warms your heart, knowing that his dreams and aspirations were given to him even though he’d already passed away.”

The Titmuss family were overwhelmed by the support from the rugby league community, with NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo visiting the family in hospital just hours after Titmuss had died.

But in their darkest hour, it was a card sent to them by Manly godfather Ken Arthurson which resonated the most.

“I just came back from shopping and Paul said, ‘Read this card’,” Lafo said.

“I went, ‘Wow, Ken Arthurson’. This is too much of a great surprise and honour to receive something so special from him in his own handwriting. Even Keith would have been amazed. We showed everyone and anyone.”

The card iconic Manly figure Ken Arthurson sent the Titmuss family following Keith’s tragic death last November.

The card iconic Manly figure Ken Arthurson sent the Titmuss family following Keith’s tragic death last November.

“Keith loved Manly. He never spoke poorly about the training schedule or anything like that. And I knew he was happy with where he was because this guy would travel an hour and a half or two hours each way every day to go to training.”

There was no bigger supporter of Keith’s rugby league career than Jesse, who even ran the water for his brother’s under-15 team to give him advice on the field. Not that Keith always appreciated the constant chirping from behind the play.

As they got older they became inseparable, often meeting up in the kitchen for a midnight Milo following a long night on the PlayStation. Now, there’s an emptiness that will never be filled.

“It’s hard going on with life. It’s just quiet.”

Keith’s brother, Jesse Titmuss

“Keith was my best mate,” Jesse said. “Everyday I would come home and the first person I would speak to was Keith. When I got engaged with my fiance, the first person I told was Keith. When I found out we were having a son, he was the first person I told.

“He was pretty special to me. It’s hard going on with life. It’s just quiet. The house is quiet. Sometimes you just want to talk to him or vent to him. It’s tough living without him knowing I won’t ever get that chance again.”

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‘Keith is no longer with us’: Parents’ agony over final moments of rising NRL star

Almost four months after the sudden death of one of rugby league’s brightest young stars after a Manly training session, the family has revealed the painful details of Keith Titmuss’ final moments.

Thank you for visiting My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed checking out this story about League news and updates named “‘Keith is no longer with us’: Parents’ agony over final moments of rising NRL star”. This news update was shared by My Local Pages Australia as part of our local and national news services.

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Keith Haring: Collingwood Mural

Keith Haring: Collingwood Mural

Keith Haring: Collingwood Mural

Keith Haring: Collingwood MuralKeith Haring’s Collingwood mural is a much-loved local landmark.

Painted during his visit to Melbourne over the course of summer’s day in 1984, Haring considered the Collingwood mural to be the highlight of his time in Australia.

It is Haring’s only surviving large scale work in Australia and one of only 32 examples of his mural work worldwide.

When the site was handed to Contemporary Arts Precincts Ltd by the state government in 2018, custodianship of the mural was also transferred.

Whilst it has been protected and obscured during the redevelopment, it can now once again be viewed in its entirety at 35 JohnstonStreet.

Visit Melbourne Haring Mural for more information about Haring’s time in Australia, the creation and the conservation of this incredible legacy.

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Keith Urban tells Kyle Sandilands about Nicole Kidman’s fight at Sydney Opera House

Keith Urban has finally dished on the altercation that went down at the Sydney Opera House last month, with his wife Nicole Kidman and an older male audience member.

On Friday, the 53-year-old discussed the incident in an interview on KIIS FM’s Kyle and Jackie O Show.

“We were sitting down with Nic’s mum and we were clapping. It was a bloody great performance and everyone was cheering and cheering,” Keith said.

“I looked around and I see a few people standing and a few more and I thought ‘Oh I’m getting up’.

“And then this guy behind me just whacked Nic, like really hit her, with the program.”

Keith said that an extremely shocked Nicole then looked over at him and her mother Janelle and said: “He just hit me!”

I was like, “What?! Violence at the opera!”

RELATED: Keith Urban’s handy 1 hour sleep trick

“It’s a bit of a pickle I was in because I’m a husband and you want to defend your wife but it took a lot of restraint. I was pretty upset,” he said.

Keith also explained how he had never been to the opera before, and was unaware that standing ovations were not allowed.

“We did not know you are not supposed to stand in the opera. Having not been to the opera before ever in my life, I am sensitive to the etiquette,” he said.

Police were reportedly called to the Sydney Opera House last month after the man “swatted” actress Nicole Kidman with a program.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald s Private Sydney section last month, witnesses allege a man in the audience of The Merry Widow grew agitated when Urban jumped to his feet to give the performance a standing ovation.

RELATED: Nicole reveals Keith’s surprise internet search history

When Kidman joined her husband – along with the rest of the audience – in cheering on the cast, the man behind them allegedly began a heated exchange with the pair.

According to onlookers, Urban told the man he was simply appreciating the cast’s talent, but things took a turn when the disgruntled audience member angrily “swatted” Kidman with his program, leading Urban to accuse him of assaulting his wife.

The couple were then escorted out of a side door by Urban’s security guards, with police also called to the venue, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Police media confirmed officers attended the Opera House that night following reports of an argument.

“Police have been told a 53-year-old man and a 67-year-old man were both attending the entertainment centre when an argument broke out. Officers spoke to both men and no further action was taken,” NSW Police said in a statement.

Kidman and Urban reportedly did not press charges against the man.

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Keith Wolahan, the ex-commando who unseated Liberal Party stalwart Kevin Andrews, insists he’s ‘not a moderate’

Former special forces commando Keith Wolahan has rejected suggestions he is a “moderate”, a day after unseating Liberal Party stalwart Kevin Andrews in the Melbourne seat of Menzies.

Mr Wolahan on Sunday won preselection for the federal seat that Mr Andrews — one of the Liberal Party’s most socially conservative stalwarts — had held since 1991.

Despite holding some different views to his predecessor — Mr Wolahan voted for marriage equality in the 2017 plebiscite — he rejects suggestions he is a moderate.

However, his win is seen as a blow for party conservatives, as Mr Andrews had the support of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

A ‘generational change’ for the Liberal Party

Monash University politics lecturer Zareh Ghazarian said Mr Wolahan’s preselection marked a “generational change” for Victoria’s Liberal Party.

“It’s rare for sitting MPs to not retain their seat,” Mr Ghazarian said.

“The decision to select a new candidate in Keith Wolahan potentially will impact the future direction of the party in the state.”

Mr Wolahan dismissed suggestions he was out of step with the party leadership and characterised their support for Mr Andrews as a show of loyalty for a longtime colleague.

“The Prime Minister and his colleagues backed Kevin because they’re colleagues, that’s what they do,” Mr Wolahan said.

He said the Government’s “cautious rollout” of the coronavirus vaccine was “appropriate”, and the Prime Minister had “the balance right” on climate change.

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said Mr Wolahan’s preselection was an indication that local party members were ready for change, rather than a negative assessment of Mr Andrews’ track record.

“I don’t think after a 30-year career I would look at the decision of the preselectors as anything other than it’s time for renewal in that seat,” Mr Sukkar said.

Kevin Andrews held the seat of Menzies in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs for 30 years.(ABC News: Matt Roberts)

Vote a ‘wonderful exercise of democracy’

Mr Wolahan won Sunday’s vote of Liberal Party members by a clear margin of 181 to 111, including a “handful” of votes cast by Australian Defence Force (ADF) veterans.

He denied any suggestions of branch stacking, but said around 20 former ADF colleagues were waiting outside the party room as he emerged as the victor.

Keith Wolahan poses for a portrait
Keith Wolahan won the preselection vote 181-111 to push aside incumbent Kevin Andrews.(Supplied: Victorian Bar)

It was the first time a sitting Victorian Liberal MP had been ousted by their members in more than 20 years.

However, his victory, though noteworthy, doesn’t top Mr Wolahan’s list of lifetime achievements.

A veteran of three tours of Afghanistan, Mr Wolahan was awarded a Commendation for Distinguished Service for his performance of duty in action with the ADF in 2009 and 2010.

Mr Wolahan described Sunday’s vote as a “wonderful exercise of democracy”.

“There was no dirt sheet, there were no smears, there were just decent people, hearing the arguments and then quietly exercising their vote in a secret ballot,” he said.

In response to questioning about his leadership ambitions, he demurred.

“I’m just a candidate, I’m not even a parliamentarian, so I have to earn the trust of the people of Menzies, then I’m off to the right start,” he said.

“I won’t be getting ahead of myself.”

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Keith Dryden backs Kerrin McEvoy to deliver goods on his runners

Getting a leading rider on often makes all the difference in a race in town and Canberra trainer Keith Dryden is hoping a multiple Melbourne Cup winner can deliver him glory.

Dryden has booked Kerrin McEvoy to ride Express Courier in a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1900m) and he’ll leave it up to the top hoop to give the five-year-old the perfect ride.

He will have to do it out of gate seven with the top weight.

The Form: Complete NSW Racing thoroughbred form, including video replays and all you need to know about every horse, jockey and trainer. Find a winner here!

“He’s going good but has plenty of weight with 59.5kg and I’m not 100 per cent sure yet that Canterbury will suit him,” Dryden said.

“I’m just going to let Kerrin ride him how he feels he’s going.

“He generally gets back a bit further than he did the other day so I’ll just make him aware of that but all these top jockeys watch the films anyway.

“It makes such a difference having those leading riders on. They really know what they’re doing.”

Off a fourth placing behind Nyami over 1800m last start and with two wins in his past five runs he’s really enjoying his racing ahead of his first run at Canterbury.

“He worked well the other morning so I’m happy with him and it wouldn’t be beyond him winning if everything fell into place for us,” Dryden said.

Shores Of Avalon ends the night for Dryden in the last race over 1100m and she’s only coming out of country racing this time in with a win and third placing but she’s going to be suited to tonight’s track.

She’s going to be on speed from barrier two under Jay Ford and will be starting over the odds.

She’s put together a good record to date with four wins from 10 runs with two placings so she deserves a crack in town.

“She’s got a good record but hasn’t been tried over any further than the 1000m so it will be interesting to see how she goes,” Dryden said.

“I think she’ll like Canterbury and she’s got good pace so she’ll be right there somewhere for a long way.

“She’s a strong each-way chance if she’s good odds. If it was to rain she might not be much of a chance though because she doesn’t like the wet.”

To kick off Dryden’s evening, first starter In De Sun Iwilcome races in the third event and McEvoy has also been booked to ride her.

She’s an I Am Invincible mare who cost a cool $380,000 and she’s out of Island Pago who is the half-sister to Pago Rock.

“She cost a bit and she’s going along all right,” Dryden said.

“She’ll need education more than anything and she’s going along quite nicely and has drawn well.”

Dryden has been cautious about her winning chances leading up to the race despite two winning trials.

He said she’s going to be a lot better once she figures out what the game is all about.

“She’s not doing anything wrong except she wants to over race a bit. She’s starting to come to it,” he said.

“She’ll be on the pace.”


Local trainer Scott Singleton is backing his Dream Ahead filly Baiyka to not only be a better horse at Scone but genuine winning hope.

The three-year-old races in the fifth event after running a close second at Muswellbrook last start over 900m and the extra 100m is ideal.

She’s only had four starts to date but has ran second on two occasions and this is her time to win from barrier three with regular rider Billy Cray on.

“I think she’s peaking now,” Singleton said.

“She was a little underdone first-up then she jumped out of the ground last start so she gets her chance from a good barrier at home.

“The form out of that last race is pretty good. The winner won again and the horse that ran third has won so is looks like a good race for her.”

Singleton will also debut Stocklist in the second race and despite getting a good gate (four) for her first run, the Tavistock mare is going to need much more than 1300m

“She needs 2000m and further,” Singleton said.

Stablemate Remlaps Gem won’t run in the sixth race at Scone but will be sent to Sydney for Saturday’s Class 3 Plate, a Highway race.

He’s won two of his four starts to date and ran second last time at Muswellbrook but he’s going to start as the second most inexperienced horse in the race.

“He’s come on a lot from that first-up run. He’s a big horse so he needed that run and it’s really cleaned him up,” Singleton said.

“He’s only had four starts so he is probably getting there a few runs early but there’s not that many races for him and he’s carrying 60kg out here.

“It’s come to a point where you need to take him away because he’s been a bit looked after. He’s only had runs at Scone and Muswellbrook so he hasn’t been more than half an hour in a float.

“I’m hoping like hell he can run 1200m because he’ll be a good horse if he can.”

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Keith Titmuss dead: Heartbreaking funeral for Manly star, NRL, rugby league, Sea Eagles, how did he die

There was an outpouring of emotion on Wednesday as family, friends and teammates gathered at Keith Titmuss’ funeral to farewell the up-and-coming rugby league star.

The Manly player tragically died last month, aged 20, after a training session in Narrabeen on Sydney’s northern beaches. He started feeling ill after the session, telling staff he was suffering from cramps.

Titmuss was transported by ambulance to Northern Beaches Hospital, before being transferred to Royal North Shore Hospital, where he died soon after.

The rugby league world is in mourning for the young gun, who was part of the Sea Eagles’ senior squad for 2021 and hoped to make his NRL debut next year.

Round 1

Tragically, he will never get that chance.

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NRL news: Keith Titmuss dies, Jason Saab, Manly Sea Eagles

New Manly player Jason Saab has paid a heartwarming tribute to his best friend Keith Titmuss, and vowed to dedicate the rest of his rugby league career to the young player taken too soon.

Titmuss died suddenly last week at the age of 20, becoming ill after a Sea Eagles training session and later passing away in hospital.

His death has rocked the Narrabeen club and the entire rugby league community.

None more so than Saab, who wanted to join the Sea Eagles in part so he could play and train alongside his close mate.

Round 1

Saab couldn’t hide his emotions as he spoke to Channel 9 on Monday about the sudden passing of Keith.

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Jason Saab joins Manly Sea Eagles, Keith Titmuss, how did he die, breaks down

The death of Manly Sea Eagles rookie Keith Titmuss rocked the NRL last week but few felt it as deep as Jason Saab.

Titmuss passed away a week ago aged 20 after falling ill after a 90-minute training session at Narrabeen.

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He was taken to hospital and passed away soon after at Royal North Shore Hospital.

It led to a massive outpouring of grief from the NRL community but was particularly heartbreaking for Saab.

Saab was best mates with Titmuss and was an early release from the Dragons to join the Sea Eagles to play alongside his friend.

Saab’s move to the Sea Eagles was confirmed on Friday by signing a three-year deal, with more heartbreaking details of their friendship revealed over the weekend.

Channel 9’s Danny Weidler wrote in his Sun Herald column that Saab had been criticised online for seeking a release because of the drive from Greystanes, near Parramatta in Sydney’s west to Wollongong, when he was targeting a move to Manly on the northern beaches.

“But Saab had lined up a travel buddy to share the journey to the northern beaches: close mate Keith Titmuss,” Weidler wrote.

A St George Illawarra Dragons rookie, Saab played seven games in red and white, with just four in 2020 with his last appearance in a loss to Cronulla.

But speaking on Nine News, Saab broke down after remembering the horrible moment he heard Titmuss had passed away.

“I just broke down. I couldn’t believe it, I was in so much denial and shock,” Saab said.

“It rocked me.

“To have that feeling again … playing footy, training with your best mate … we always spoke about it.

“I messaged him that day. I said to him ‘bro I’m going to be there next week’,” Saab said as he broke down. “He never messaged back.

“I asked him how training was. That was probably the training that took his life.”

Having spoken about how they would play NRL alongside each other at Manly, Saab dedicated his Manly career to his friend.

Titmuss was made an honorary first grader after his death, getting player number 623, with Saab looking to be 624.

“I’ve got a reason to be there, every morning I get to walk by Keith with his Hall of Fame club legend poster on the way to the sheds,” Saab said.

“It feels right, it almost feels like it’s scripted that I be there and play first grade, by God’s will, play Round 1 and be the next Sea Eagles number right next to him.”

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NRL news 2020, Keith Titmuss dead, cause of death, Manly Sea Eagles, medical tests, how did he die

Manly player Keith Titmuss passed all of his medical test conducted by the club just days before he sadly passed away following a pre-season training session on Monday.

The Sea Eagles cancelled planned sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday and encouraged players and staff to take as much time off as needed to process the tragic news of the 20-year-old’s death.

Titmuss collapsed after a routine session on Monday but according to the Sydney Morning Herald, he did not have any health issues that the club was aware of.

The NRL will also wait for the coroner’s report to determine the cause of death before deciding its next steps, while the Sea Eagles have been assisting with the police.

Round 1

NRL mourns passing of Titmuss


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