Former NRL star Chad Robinson has been remembered as a passionate player, a loyal friend and an utterly devoted father during an emotional funeral service.
Hundreds of mourners, including past and present Parramatta Eels and Sydney Roosters greats, gathered in Sydney’s west on Tuesday to farewell the 36-year-old.
Monique Brennan described her brother as a kind, generous and loving man whose death had left an unspeakable hole in her heart.
She spoke of her pride in Robinson for opening up about his mental health struggles and encouraging others to seek help.
“I know you didn’t give up without a fight, but God saw that you were tired and opened his arms up to you to give you the eternal rest that you needed,” Ms Brennan told the service at Parramatta Marist High.
“May you feel love, may you feel free, and I hope you have found the peace you were so desperately seeking.”
Robinson’s body was found inside the wreckage of a car at Kenthurst on December 22, almost a month after he went missing from his Kellyville home about 13km away.
Ms Brennan promised his death would not be in vain.
“Always reach out to anyone who needs help. Always be brave. Always ask for help if you need it and don’t be ashamed if you are struggling,” she urged those gathered at Parramatta Marist High.
“If we all do this, his legacy will never die and he will always be with us.”
Robinson’s siblings, uncle and lifelong friends all spoke of the immense pride and enormous love he had for his two children.
His teenage children, Kiara and Cooper, penned a “thank you” letter to their dad, describing him as their closest companion.
“Words cannot express how broken-hearted we are that you were taken so early from us but we know you are at peace and resting easy now,” the pair wrote in a letter printed in the order of service.
“Until we see you again, know that we adore you, Daddy. Forever loving you.”
The former Parramatta and Sydney Roosters forward played 159 NRL matches between 2000 and 2008.
His playing jerseys flanked the casket inside the chapel of his old high school.
Younger brother Tim, a Cronulla Sharks prop, spoke of his heartache and undying love.
“I love you mate and always will – you were my inspiration,” he said.
“You are gone too soon, my brother, but we have enough memories to last a lifetime.
“May you rest easy, my beautiful brother.”
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.