Young Coast sports star's life lost too soon
THE Sunshine Coast sports community is grieving the death of talented young footballer Malu Nona, killed in a tragic Bruce Highway accident in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The 19-year-old starred in the Maroochydore Swans Under 18 grand final last year before trialling with the Cronulla Sharks Under 20 Jersey Flegg side during the off season.
A police spokesman said investigations were continuing into the death of a 19-year-old Sunshine Coast man who died after being struck by a vehicle on the Bruce Highway (northbound) at Landsborough about 2km south of the Caloundra exit about1am.
The spokesman said the vehicle he had been driving was located parked on the side of the highway.
Maroochydore Swans Rugby League Club president Paul McMillan said Malu had been a talented player, capable of performing well in any position on the paddock.
The club had spotted his potential when he was playing for Maroochydore High School as a 13-year-old.
But he didn't play for the Swans until a year ago after returning from Sydney where he had secured a bursary to play college rugby union.
Mr McMillan said Malu had really enjoyed his time with the Swans' premiership winning Under 18 side and had also played a handful of A-grade games for the club.
In all he had scored 15 tries playing second row for the Swans U18s during the 2017 premiership.
"He was a very talented athlete in whatever he took on," Mr McMillan said.
"When we saw him playing for his school he stood out big time.
"Malu had a smile across his face all the time. He really was a great young man... a polite young fellow who really enjoyed 2017 with the Under 18s."
Born on Thursday Island, Malu was raised in Maroochydore by his grandmother Judy Tasker following his own mother's death.
He was the nephew of former world women's surfing tour competitor Hayley Tasker and is survived by an older sister.
Mrs Tasker said Malu had gone to the Cronulla Sharks National Rugby League Club at the end of last year to trial with its Under 20 Jersey Flegg side.
He had been invited back she said but had been overwhelmed by the whole thing deciding instead to return to the Sunshine Coast to study to become a youth worker.
Mrs Tasker said Malu had also played soccer in the Sunshine Coast junior competition until a 12-year-old then played rugby union with Brothers making Sunshine Coast and Queensland Country representative teams.
He was offered a scholarship with Saint Ignatius Riverview in Sydney where he played and studied for three years before returning to complete Year 12 with Mountain Creek High, playing in its senior side and for Sunshine Coast schoolboys.
Despite his considerable talent as an athlete Mrs Tasker said Malu had struggled with anxiety and a lack of self worth.
"It was stressful for him to live up to what he wanted to do," she said.
A group of Manu's mates paddled out at Alexandra Headland on Sunday to form a circle in respect of the young life lost.
A service would be held for Manu Nona on Saturday from 10am at Gregson and Weight, Maroochydore, next door to the Maroochydore Swans Rugby League Club.
Players, friends and families would then shift over to the clubhouse to say final farewells.