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The rugby league community has united to show their support for "beautiful soul" and much-loved player Ben Hunter after his passing earlier this week.

Known to those close to him as 'BJ', the promising Nambour Crusher Under 16s second rower and Sunshine Coast Falcons' Cyril Connell Challenge vice-captain passed away after being struck by a car late on Sunday night.

Players, coaches and volunteers from the Sunshine Coast rugby league community attended Nambour Junior Rugby League club for a candlelight vigil on Wednesday night, finding solace in each other in the wake of the tragedy.

Those who could not make it to Nambour held their own tribute ceremonies in a further show of support for those close to Ben.

Nambour Crushers president Leith Hensley said it was amazing to see so many people and clubs celebrating Ben and rallying behind his friends and family.

Ben Hunter played his club footy at Nambour Crushers
Ben Hunter played his club footy at Nambour Crushers

"Everyone showing up last night, it was really touching and I think everyone, from speaking to everyone who was there, definitely found some benefit out of it," Hensley said.

"His dad hung around for quite a while with a few other members from the club just chatting, and it was quite amazing, just the strength that they've both shown.

"It just shows how tight knit the community is here on the Sunshine Coast in our rugby league family and there's been nothing but support from all of (the clubs).

"Everyone's just been getting around each other checking in regularly, just letting everyone know that they're only a phone call away or door-knock away."

The crowd at Ben's vigil at Nambour Crushers on Wednesday night.
The crowd at Ben's vigil at Nambour Crushers on Wednesday night.

Hensley said Ben, who attended Caloundra State High School on a rugby league scholarship, was just as dedicated to helping and encouraging others to improve their game as he was working towards his own rugby league goals.

"It didn't matter if you were an under 8s coach or his coach in under 16s or an under 11s kid or your own teammate or an opposition parent, he was just so polite and respectful," he said.

"He was definitely a great role model for any kid who wants to have a future in rugby league, whether it be playing 100 A grade games for the Crushers or doing everything they can to make it to the top of the game in the NRL.

"He was just so dedicated to his dream."

In a tribute on social media on Tuesday, Sunshine Coast Falcons remembered Ben as a warm and bright young man, who will be missed across the club.

"Ben was a much-loved member of our Falcons Football Club, both on and off the field, and was the vice captain of our Cyril Connell U16’s team this year," the tribute read.

"Ben’s big smile, friendly personality and wonderful football ability will certainly be missed by everyone here at the Falcons."

Family friends, who are helping to raise money to assist the family with funeral expenses, described him as a "beautiful soul" and a "kind and well-mannered" young man.

Sunshine Coast Falcons CEO Chris Flannery said it had been a tough week for the club, Ben’s family, friends and teammates.

He said Ben was a great person who “everyone enjoyed being around” on top of being a “wonderful player” his teammates looked to for leadership on and off the field.

Stanley River Wolves also paid their respects.
Stanley River Wolves also paid their respects.

“He was a really good conduit between the coaching staff and the players within that Cyril Connell Challenge side,” Flannery said.

“He got along with everyone that he came into contact with, but he also had a real thirst for knowledge as well, and to make himself a better player.

“Even on the night that he passed away, he'd been to the gym for a late-night gym session. I guess that just shows you the dedication that he had to the game and to himself.”

Flannery said he hoped the players would come to cherish the moments they spent together as a team, the last gathering being the side’s presentation night held at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Sunday.

He praised team staff, including coach Tim Baldwin and assistant coach Dominic Mazzoleni, and Falcons wellbeing and education manager Nathan McGuire, for their efforts to support the players in the wake of the tragedy.

Flannery said the Falcons would continue to consult Ben’s family to discuss the most appropriate way for the club to pay their respects.

Anyone who wishes to contribute to fundraising to help support the family can donate here.

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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