K rock Football

Hawks mourn premiership star

DRYSDALE has been rocked by the death of two-time premiership defender Ryan Gatgens.

The 32-year-old, who was the coach of the Hawks’ under-19 team, died on Sunday after battling mental health issues.

“Mental health can be a beast, and it is important that we are all there for each other, when needed,” a statement on the Hawks’ Facebook page said.

“We are a big family and we will wrap our arms around our kids and each other, and we will be there to help get everyone through this tough time. ”

A product of Drysdale’s junior system, Gatgens won the senior best-and-fairest as a 19-year-old ruckman in 2005.

He became a key pillar in defence as the Hawks snapped a 24-year premiership drought by beating Geelong Amateur in the 2009 grand final and then followed up by again upsetting Ammos in 2010.

A member of Drysdale’s 2000-09 Team of the Decade, Gatgens suffered a serious knee injury early in the 2011 season before heading to Perth for a number of years.

He returned home to play a full season in the reserves in 2017 and a few matches in 2018 while also taking on the role as coach of the Hawks’ under-19 team.

If you or someone you know is suffering personal problems, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or go online to www.beyondblue.org.au

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