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The NSW Rugby League is saddened to hear of the tragic passing today of Central Newcastle player Joel Dark.

Joel, 19, had been in a critical condition in John Hunter Hospital since he collapsed on field during a Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League First Grade match against Western Suburbs at St John Oval on Sunday 6 September.

The family has requested that their privacy be respected during this very difficult time.

They have expressed their gratitude to the Central Newcastle Rugby League Football Club, staff at the John Hunter Hospital and all those who have assisted and supported the family during this time.

The Newcastle Rugby League has postponed all fixtures for this weekend out of respect for Joel and his family.

The NSWRL and the Rugby League community extend their most sincere condolences to Joel's family.