Cronulla coach Craig Fitzgibbon promises club will help ex-Sharks star who broke his neck

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Cronulla coach Craig Fitzgibbon promises club will do all it can for ex-Sharks star who broke his neck in a rugby union game

  • Ex-Cronulla Sharks winger broke his neck playing NSW country rugby union
  • Nathan Stapleton, 32, represented Sharks from 2009-2014, scored 17 tries
  • NRL coach Craig Fitzgibbon said club will ‘do everything they can’ to assist 

Cronulla coach Craig Fitzgibbon has declared the NRL club will ‘do everything they can’ to support former winger Nathan Stapleton, who suffered a fractured neck earlier this month while playing NSW country rugby union.

Stapleton, 32, was hurt in a ruck during the second half of his Boorowa club’s opening game of the season against West Wyalong on April 9.

The match was immediately abandoned, with Stapleton taken to the spinal unit at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney.

‘It’s such a shame, I was at the Roosters when ‘Stapo’ was there too,’ Fitzgibbon said on Wednesday.

‘It’s just a tragedy for Nathan and his family and whatever the Sharks can do to support them is obviously crucial and everyone in rugby league in general should get behind him.

‘It’s sad news and best wishes to him and all involved.

Cronulla coach Craig Fitzgibbon has declared the NRL club will 'do everything they can' to support former winger Nathan Stapleton, who suffered a fractured neck earlier this month

Cronulla coach Craig Fitzgibbon has declared the NRL club will ‘do everything they can’ to support former winger Nathan Stapleton, who suffered a fractured neck earlier this month

Stapleton, 32, was playing rugby for Boorowa in a NSW Country competition when he was hurt in a ruck. He was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney after also injuring his spinal cord

Stapleton, 32, was playing rugby for Boorowa in a NSW Country competition when he was hurt in a ruck. He was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney after also injuring his spinal cord

‘It’s still early days for where he is at, at the moment, but it’s definitely sad.’

Boorowa Rugby Club confirmed the shocking news on social media.

‘During our game at West Wyalong, Goldies Men’s player Nathan Stapleton suffered a significant injury during the second half which led to the match being abandoned,’ Boorowa Rugby Club posted on Facebook.

‘Unfortunately during contact, Nathan fractured his neck and injured his spinal cord, requiring significant medical assistance.

‘Through an incredible effort from members of each club, Nathan was given first aid until paramedics could arrive.

‘Nathan has begun his recovery at hospital in Sydney, and whilst he shows improvement each day, the extent of his injuries and long term impact remains unclear.’

Stapleton scored 17 tries in 61 appearances for the Sharks between 2009 and 2014, before being released to join the Sydney Roosters.

He later moved to England to play with London, and has started a family since moving back to Australia.

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