TRIBUTES have flowed for former Merbein premiership player and AFL footballer Colin Sylvia after he died in a car crash at Irymple on Sunday.
Sylvia was driving when his car and another vehicle collided at the intersection of Nineteenth Street and Benetook Avenue about 2.20pm.
The driver of the second vehicle was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Major collision investigation unit detectives arrived late on Sunday to investigate the cause of the collision.
Sylvia, 32, was remembered for his efforts on the football field, which included winning an SFNL flag with the Magpies at 16 before going on to forge a 163-game AFL career with Melbourne and Fremantle.
His talent at a young age was obvious to many.
He moved to Bendigo to be closer to the Pioneers, where he impressed enough to be picked third overall in the 2003 AFL draft.
Sylvia would play 157 games for Melbourne, kicking 129 goals and polling 27 Brownlow votes.
He was in 2015 awarded Demons life membership and spoke of his football journey with the AFL website.
“I came in as a young boy from the country,” Sylvia said.
“I turned from a boy into a man. It taught me a lot, especially moving from a small country town like Merbein.
“I’ve got many great memories – lots of ups and lots of downs and that’s footy – it’s a bit of rollercoaster ride.”
Asked by Sunraysia Daily what his career highlight was, Sylvia responded: “To play for 10 years and 150 games for the Melbourne Football Club ... I’m a life member of the oldest club in the land, the club that invented the game.”
Sylvia returned to Kenny Park in 2015 after his six-game stint with Fremantle ended, but a shoulder injury in his first game back limited him to two appearances.
He returned to the local football scene again this year, taking on an assistant coach role with Meringur in the Millewa Football League.
His return to Mildura followed a tumultuous period.
But Sylvia was looking ahead when he returned home, telling Sunraysia Daily in January he wanted to focus on the positives in his life.
“(It’s) the main reason why I came home to Mildura: to get around my family and my best friends, they’ve been a great support to me.”
Former Melbourne teammate Brent Moloney shared a tribute on Instagram to his “best mate”.
“We were always side by side no matter where we were. I’m gonna miss you brother,” Moloney said.
Sylvia’s girlfriend posted to Facebook that Sylvia was “so beautiful inside and out” and was “gone too soon”.
Geelong captain Joel Selwood tweeted: “Bloody sad, I (watched) Col change games at Bendigo Pioneers as a junior (a) number of times. A very likable guy always. Rest in peace mate.”
Melbourne chief executive Gary Pert passed on his condolences to the Sylvia family, teammates and colleagues.
“Colin was not only a great footballer but also a great character, who built many meaningful relationships across the entire club,” Pert said.
Meringur Football Netball Club vice-president Marcus Parker issued a statement extending condolences to Sylvia’s sister and club committee member Kasey, her fiancé Toby Quirk-Meeks and their sons Archer, Oscar and Arlo.
“Colin’s efforts around the club were a welcome addition in season 2018 and it is very sad that we won’t be able to see these happen in the future,” Parker said.
“Whether it be offering advice to up-and-coming players throughout the season through to looking after his nephews while their mother and father were representing the club on the field, Colin’s input with the club was greatly appreciated.”
More coverage in Tuesday's Sunraysia Daily, 30/10/2018. To subscribe to our Digital Edition, click here