Inquiries are underway into a single-vehicle crash near Cessnock overnight, which has rocked the local sporting community.
About 11.15pm on Thursday 8 April, emergency services were called to a private road at Pelaw Main and found a Subaru Forrester had hit a barrier.
A 17-year-old youth suffered critical injuries after he was thrown from the front passenger seat and died at the scene.
It is believed the youngster was a talented rugby league player, who represented the Newcastle Knights.
“The nib Newcastle Knights extend our sincere condolences to the friends and family of Harold Matthews Cup player Elijah Faalua, who tragically passed away in a motor vehicle accident on Thursday,” the NRL organisation said in a statement today.
“The club requests for all to respect the privacy of Elijah’s friends and family at this time.”
The teenage driver of the vehicle, also 17, was taken to John Hunter Hospital with minor injuries.
He’s also undergone mandatory testing.
Officers from Hunter Valley Police District established a crime scene and have started an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash.
A report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.