Chad Robinson's funeral draws hundreds
Former NRL player Chad Robinson has been remembered as a passionate footballer, a loyal friend and an utterly devoted father during an emotional funeral service.
Hundreds of mourners, including past and present Parramatta and Sydney Roosters players, gathered in Sydney's west on Tuesday to farewell the 36-year-old father of two.
Monique Brennan described her brother as a kind, generous and loving man whose death last month following a battle with depression 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 in northwest Sydney 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, vowing to dedicate her life to highlighting mental health issues.
Robinson's siblings, uncle and lifelong friends also spoke of the immense pride and enormous love he had for his two teenage children Kiara and Cooper.
The pair penned a "thank you" letter to their dad, describing him as their closest companion who taught them so much.
"Thank you for passing down the best parts of yourself and your knowledge even when you were at your worst," they wrote in a letter printed in the order of service.
"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 former Parramatta and Sydney Roosters forward played 159 NRL matches between 2000 and 2008.
Former Roosters Anthony Minichiello, Brad Fittler, Brett Finch, Bryan Fletcher, Craig Fitzgibbon and Luke Ricketson were in attendance.
So too were ex-Eels Nathan Hindmarsh, Mark Riddell, Eric Grothe Jr , Nathan Cayless and Luke Burt, along with Paul Gallen and Joel Reddy.
Robinson's playing jerseys flanked the casket inside the chapel of his old high school.
"You will always be a champion. May you rest in peace," his uncle Bruce Robinson said.
Younger brother Tim, a Cronulla 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 created enough memories to last a lifetime."
Best mate Jeremy Latta told of an unbreakable bond throughout their decades-long friendship.
"My mum and dad only had one son but I always had a brother and his name was Chad Robinson," he said.
The Eels and Roosters have set up an education fund for Robinson's children and will work together on a fundraising drive before their Round 10 clash this season.
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.