Parramatta centre Tom Opacic told Eels coach Brad Arthur he wanted to play in the NRL match against Penrith on Friday night just hours after his brother died in a motorcycle crash.
Opacic's older brother Jakob, 28, died at the crash site just after 10am on Friday morning, shortly after police believe he left the scene of a heated argument near Numinbah Correctional Centre on his motorcycle.
Detectives are treating the death as suspicious and want to hear from anyone who saw the crash, or witnessed the argument.
Opacic was given the option of sitting out Friday's clash against the Eels, before playing the match as his entire team wore black armbands in their 13-12 loss.
"I spoke to him early today and suggested that he didn't play," Arthur said.
"But he wasn't taking that, he wanted to be around his mates and wanted to make a sacrifice for the team.
"I just think as a club it shows where we are at."
Parramatta outside back Opacic signed a contract extension in recent weeks and remains in the Eels' biosecurity bubble.
He would need to leave that if he is granted an exemption to cross the closed border into Queensland, however the Eels do have the bye next week.
"We are sad to learn of the sudden passing of Jake Opacic today, brother of Tom Opacic," the club said in a statement.
"The Parramatta Eels extend their thoughts and deepest sympathies to the Opacic family.
"Tom was brave to play in tonight's game under painful circumstances, and we will support him during this difficult time.
"On behalf of everybody at the Club, our members, fans, and partners, we send our sincerest condolences to Tom and his family."