Alex Elisala

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Alex Elisala
Elisala representing the Queensland under-20 team
Personal information
Born(1992-08-17)17 August 1992
Auckland, New Zealand
Died29 April 2013(2013-04-29) (aged 20)
Mackay, Queensland, Australia
Playing information
Height177 cm (5 ft 10 in)[1]
Weight90 kg (14 st 2 lb)[1]
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2013 Samoa 1 0 0 0 0
Source: [2]

Alex Elisala (17 August 1992 – 29 April 2013) was a Samoa international rugby league footballer who was contracted to the North Queensland Cowboys at the time of his death. He primarily played as a hooker.

Early life[edit]

Elisala was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and moved to Woodridge, Queensland, Australia when he was one year old.[5] Of Samoan descent, he played his junior rugby league for the Logan Brothers,[6] before moving to Townsville, Queensland. Whilst there he attended Ignatius Park College, and became close friends with future Cowboys teammate Michael Morgan.[3]

Playing career[edit]

Elisala played 69 games for the Cowboys in the National Youth Competition from 2010 to 2012. He started his NYC career as a fullback, and wing before moving into the hooker position.[7] He represented the Queensland under-20 team on 21 April 2012. In 2013, Elisala progressed into the Cowboys' NRL training squad. He began the season playing for their feeder team, the Mackay Cutters, in the Queensland Cup. On 20 April 2013, he debuted for the Samoan national team in their Pacific Rugby League International match against Tonga.[8]


In the early hours of Sunday, 28 April 2013, paramedics and police were called to a Mackay CBD hotel where Elisala, 20, was found unconscious and not breathing after plunging from a hotel balcony.

Elisala was admitted to Mackay Base Hospital, and put on life support.[8][7] He died the following evening after his condition worsened and his life support system was turned off.

Elisala had most recently played for the Cutters on Saturday night, scoring a try in their 22–22 draw with the Tweed Heads Seagulls.[6][7]


The Mackay Cutters retired jersey number 14, which Elisala had worn regularly off the interchange bench, for the remainder of the 2013 season.[9] A minute's silence was observed at Parramatta Stadium on 4 May 2013 prior to the Cowboys' NRL match against the Parramatta Eels. The Cowboys players also wore black armbands during the game to honour Elisala.[10] Following the suicide of Wests Tigers-contracted Mosese Fotuaika on 28 February 2013,[6] Elisala's death by suicide provoked scrutiny of the NRL's welfare systems for young players.[11]


  1. ^ a b "Alex Elisala". Archived from the original on 5 February 2013.
  2. ^ "Alex Elisala". Rugby League Project.
  3. ^ a b Lutton, Phil (20 May 2015). "Michael Morgan overcomes tragic loss of Alex Elisala to roar into Queensland Maroons ranks". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  4. ^ Brundson, Simon (4 January 2016). "North Queensland grand final hero Michael Morgan almost walked away from rugby league in 2013". Fox Sports. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  5. ^ "Partner's emotional tribute to dead NRL player". 30 April 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Garry, Chris (30 April 2013). "North Queensland Cowboys player Alex Elisala dies, aged 20". Herald Sun. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Frost, Pamela (29 April 2013). "League community mourns loss of Cowboy Alex Elisala". Daily Mercury. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Young Cowboy dies in hospital". ABC. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  9. ^ Frost, Pamela (1 May 2013). "Cutters retire Alex Elisala's jersey for season". Queensland Times. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  10. ^ Frost, Pamela (3 May 2013). "Game will pause to remember Cowboy Alex Elisala". Daily Mercury. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  11. ^ Jackson, Glenn (4 May 2013). "The mind game: playing with an invisible pain". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 April 2017.