A 16-year-old rising AFL star has died suddenly, sending shockwaves through her community in Tasmania.
Wednesday’s headlines: new Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson’s first day on the job comes alongside a parliamentary inquiry set to investigate the Federal Government’s decision to block Qatar Airlines.
Samara Whitney, 16, who played for Wynyard Football Club and was part of the Tasmania Devils program, died on Tuesday.
Miss Whitney, who attended Marist Regional College and was known as a “pocket rocket” on the field, has been remembered as a “loveable young lady”.
“It is with great sadness and heartache, we acknowledge the sudden passing of Samara Whitney,” Wynyard FC said in a social media post, The Mercury reported.
“Samara has been a part of the WFC family since juniors and played an integral role in our Senior Women’s Premiership side this year.
“A vibrant & loveable young lady who has made her mark at the WFC as a passionate and talented player, who had a big future ahead of her.
“Our young gun, our pocket rocket, our number 2 … such a positive influence for all. Someone who had a great connection with both our club and the wider community. This will last forever.
“A true star who shone bright both inside and out.
“We thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey and for bringing so much light (and) joy into so many lives.”
Miss Whitney’s principal Gregg Sharman said she was one of the school’s brightest stars.
“More than football, Samara was a vivacious, charismatic, engaging, friendly, and compassionate student to every person,” Mr Sharman said.
“Samara had a bright future in a lot of aspects of her life.
“Our college is deeply saddened and we share our prayers, sympathy and condolences with [her parents] along with their daughters at this time.”
Mr Sharman praised college staff who were supporting students and their families, many of which are extremely distressed.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up by friends to help Ms Whitney’s parents Kym Smitheram and Seton Whitney cover her funeral costs.
In a heartfelt message organiser Sasha Burr said Tuesday was “a day that all of us will never forget”.
“It was the day we learnt the tragic news that Samara Whitney #2 was no longer with us.
“Time has since stood still for her family, friends, school community and sporting clubs as we all begin to grieve and navigate life without our special girl.”
AFL Tasmania also acknowledged Ms Whitney’s passing, remembering her as a “beloved member” of the community.
“AFL Tasmania extends its deepest sympathies to the Wynyard Football Club, North West Football League and Tasmania Devils communities following the sudden passing of Samara Whitney,” they said.
“Samara was a beloved member of the Wynyard Cats and the Tasmania Devils program, having also represented the NWFL in this year’s Women’s All Stars Series.
“Our thoughts are with Samara’s friends, family and members of the Tassie footy community.”