When Ronald and Phyllis Horton set eyes on each other it was love at first sight.
Former VFL footballer Alexander Aurrichio has tragically been killed in a fatal crash in the Northern Territory on Monday.
NT Newsreported the 30-year-old collided with a Nissan Patrol while bicycle riding in Howard Springs. The driver and multiple witnesses reportedly stopped to help Aurrichio, who unfortunately died at the scene.
Northern Territory detective Senior Sergeant Brendan Lindner said local police were notified of the accident on Monday evening.
“A cyclist was riding inbound on Gunn Point Rd just prior to the Howard Springs Reserve. A driver in a Nissan Patrol has collided into the rear of him,” Lindner said.
“Tragically, the rider has died at the scene. There were some vehicles travelling near to the crash scene, they were witnesses who observe that crash so they stopped to assist the driver of the Nissan Patrol, who stopped and is assisting us in our inquiries.”
Lindner also confirmed the driver was uninjured and not in custody.
“It’s too early to speculate on any charges,” Lindner said.
“I will say that the driver immediately stopped, rendered assistance and has assisted us with our inquiries. They’re not in custody or anything like that.”
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Born in the United States, Aurrichio moved to Australia in 2014. The talented ruckman played for the Northern Blues in the VFL for two seasons before joining South Adelaide Football Club in 2017.
After making his SANFL debut against Glenelg, Aurrichio played eight games for the Panthers, managing five goals. He also represented the Southport Sharks in the NEAFL before migrating to the Northern Territory last year.
Aurrichio spoke to AFL.com.au in 2015 about his aspirations in the sport.
“I want to be a professional athlete. So I want to do whatever it takes while I can to make it happen, even if that means coming halfway across the world,” Aurrichio said.
“I was holding out for a rookie spot, but if they gotta see me play then they gotta see me play.
“It’s going to be more challenging, but nothing worth fighting for is easy.
“Everyone’s against me right now. No one thinks I can do it and that’s what’s driving me – the doubters.
“It’s not going to happen overnight, but I believe in myself.”
“The South Adelaide Football Club is devastated to learn of the passing of former player, Alexander Aurrichio, following a bicycle accident in Darwin,” the statement read.
“Our deepest condolences to his parents Lou and Jill Aurrichio and family, current and former teammates and his many friends during this extremely difficult time.”
Southport Sharks co-captain Andrew Boston said the NEAFL club was “devastated” by the news.
“We are all in a bit of shock at the moment,” Boston said.
“We are devastated and struggling a bit. We are going to catch up as a playing group tomorrow at the football club.
“When he first came to the club you could see he was a big man with a strong voice, but everyone gravitated to him. He is a bloke everyone wanted to be around.
“His training standards around the football club. He was the best trainer at our football club, and everyone strived to match how professional he was.
“He was one of the best clubmen at the Southport Sharks. He got around every single player, and everyone came to him for advice.”
Aurrichio spoke to the Gold Coast Bulletinabout his long-awaited debut for the Sharks after spending six months stuck on the sidelines due to injury.
“It was a great day and I was stoked to run out there with the boys,” Aurrichio said.
“I was humbled, the players all got around me and again after I kicked my first goal. I felt like I was really part of the club so I was really grateful.”
Aurrichio also represented the Waratah Football Club in the NTFL, and the club passed on its condolences to his family in the United States.
“Please take some comfort in knowing he was loved by his family spreading across Australia,” the statement said.
“Rooch’s mates at Waratahs Football Club are currently getting together to support each other after the loss of our beloved teammate.
“Rooch came to the club and made an instant impact, with his strong play on the field, and even stronger character off the field, and quickly became a favourite at Waratahs.
“He had recently moved permanently to Darwin and was immersing himself in the lifestyle, taking in all the Territory had to offer including fishing and camping.
“Messages of condolences have been coming from far and wide, and he had clearly touched all who met him, with everyone in disbelief that we have lost such a loveable larrikin.
“Rooch will be remembered fondly and sorely missed.”