NRL match manipulator Ryan Tandy is being remembered as a man who squandered his potential because of his gambling problems.
The 32-year-old ex-Melbourne Storm player was found dead from a drug overdose at his parents’ home at Saratoga on the NSW Central Coast on Monday afternoon.
On Tuesday media crews gathered outside the two-storey house where his body was found, reportedly by his mother.
Tandy had been living at the home overlooking the scenic Brisbane Water as part of his bail conditions in relation to the alleged kidnapping of a man in January.
He had been due to appear in court in May after being accused by police of being a standover man.
As news of his death spread, locals described Tandy as “a bit of a lad” who had wasted his opportunities.
Some felt Tandy’s fall from grace over a 2010 match-fixing scandal and the lifetime ban meted out to him could have been avoided.
“He should have just stuck to playing football” was just one comment heard at a Gosford cafe as patrons flicked through newspapers bearing headlines of Tandy’s death.
Neighbours said the former Melbourne and Canterbury player kept to himself while he had been living back at his parents’ house.
Others remember a young Tandy causing controversy at Erina Leagues Club when the then 19-year-old placed a bet on an unattended TAB machine without paying for it.
Using the ticket he collected the winnings in another town, and the TAB and club only realised what Tandy had done after trawling through CCTV footage.
Charges were expected to be laid until the footage went missing and police were unable to proceed.
Before he became the only player in NRL history to be banned for spot-fixing, Tandy played 36 NRL matches for five clubs between 2003 and 2010.
He played in Melbourne’s grand final-winning side in 2009 and for clubs in England and France, also representing Ireland at the 2008 World Cup.