Andrew Symonds' sister opens up about her family's heartbreak

EXCLUSIVE: Mystery of Andrew Symonds’ final hours deepens as distraught sister reveals family ‘just don’t know’ what he was doing on lonely stretch of road late at night

  • Andrew Symonds, 46, died in a single-vehicle crash late on Saturday night
  • Sister Louise Symonds told Daily Mail Australia about her family’s devastation
  • Close friend said his wife Laura and two young kids are doing ‘as you’d expect’
  • A local told Daily Mail Australia the former sportsman was an ‘absolute legend’ 
  • His devastated niece Abby Dobson has also issued a heartbreaking tribute online

Andrew Symonds’ sister has opened up about her family’s devastation following her brother’s tragic death – and revealed even they don’t know what he was doing on the road so late at night.

The 46-year-old cricket legend was killed when his four-wheel drive left Hervey Range Road, 50km west of Townsville, and rolled up an embankment at about 10.30pm on Saturday.

His sister Louise Symonds left a touching letter at the crash site and said she wishes she could spend ‘just one more day’ with her brother.

On Monday morning, the schoolteacher struggled to hold back the tears as she spoke with Daily Mail Australia.

‘It’s just awful,’ she said. 

Andrew Symonds’ sister Louise left a touching tribute at the scene of the crash. Andrew Symonds is pictured far right in blue, and Louise is centre in green

She penned a heartbreaking letter wishing she could spend just ‘one more day’ with her brother before leaving the note at the site of the crash

The retired allrounder, 46, was killed at about 10.30pm on Saturday in Hervey Range, 50km west of Townsville in north Queensland, when his car left the road and rolled

Asked whether she knew what her brother was doing on the road late at night, she turned away.

‘We just don’t know,’ she said.

Her letter at the crash site was placed among other tributes including flowers, a cricket ball bearing a handwritten message, and a can of Great Northern beer.

‘Gone far too soon! Rest in peace Andrew,’ the letter read.

‘I wish we had one more day, one more phone call. My heart is broken. I will always love you my brother.’

Symonds’s beloved blue heeler dogs were in the back of the red 4X4 with personalised ‘ROY’ number plates at the time of the accident. It’s the same vehicle the keen angler used to tow his boats on his many fishing trips.

Locals Babetha Neliman and her boyfriend Waylon Townson were on the scene just two minutes after the crash.

The couple found the cricket great hanging partially out of the vehicle on the passenger side and said it was still running and playing country music.

‘One of them was very sensitive and didn’t want to leave him,’ Neliman said. ‘It would just growl at you every time we tried to move him or go near him.’ 

‘My partner tried to get (Symonds) out of the car, to put him on to his back.

‘He was unconscious, not responsive and had no pulse.’

Symonds’ wife Laura and two young children arrived at the cricketer’s home on Monday morning, and close friends who drove the family to the property said they were all in shock.

The iconic Aussie cricketer is survived by his wife Laura and his two children Billy and Chloe

His sister Louise wrote a powerful letter before adding it to the flowers and beer can that had been left at the crash site by heartbroken locals

‘[Laura and the kids] are doing as you could imagine,’ one woman said.

‘It’s just awful – he was just a great guy and the family are grieving.’

Channel 9 reporter Mia Glover told FIVEaa radio there’s speculation Symonds crashed after swerving to miss an animal.

‘One rumour that’s going around by locals is he may have swerved to miss an animal, but everything’s under investigation at the moment,’ she said.

Local man Daryl Rooker, who stopped by the scene to leave a cricket ball with a written tribute, told Daily Mail Australia that he had encountered feral pigs on the roads in the area.

‘I’ve definitely swerved to avoid pigs on the road, but in this case we just don’t know,’ he said.

Daryl Rooker, who grew up around Townsville, turned up at the scene of the crash to pay his respects – a cricket ball bearing a written tribute

Pictured: skid marks on the road where Symonds car veered and rolled on Saturday night 

The scene of the crash was still a tragic tangle of shrubs, dirt and debris on Monday.

A shattered window could be seen where Symonds’ 4WD hit the embankment, with the contents of his car strewn in the weeds.

A single fishing lure was half buried in the grass – tangled in undergrowth, cable ties and broken glass.

Mr Rooker described Symonds as a ‘great man’ who will be missed by all.

He lives near the site and was watching football when the tragedy unfolded, but he didn’t hear the smash.

‘To live just a kilometre away and turn on the news in the morning and hear that…’ he said.

Tyre marks and torn-up grass are seen at the site where Symonds’ 4X4 veered off the road 

A fishing lure was among the wreckage left behind following the crash west of Townsville

‘As I grew up – he’s a bit younger, but to watch him perform – I just thought he was the best player Australia ever had.

‘Just to see him progress and play for Australia – he’s a great Australian and it’s great to see him succeed.

‘It’s sad to see another great another great cricketer go – god’s cricket team is pretty full up now.’

Symonds was the only person in the car but the former cricketer’s two beloved blue heelers were also in the vehicle and survived the crash (pictured, Symonds with one of his dogs)

Motorists who discovered the cricketer on Saturday night said one of his blue heeler’s had been sensitive and ‘didn’t want to leave him’

Houses and properties are few and far between in the sparsely populated town, leaving its long stretches and rugged surrounds blanketed in darkness at night.

But the isolated driving conditions – which may seem disconcerting to some – were one of Symonds’ key attractions to the area, he admitted in an interview in 2020. 

Symonds, affectionately known by the nickname ‘Roy’, gifted by a childhood sports coach due to his likeness to former Basketball player Leroy Loggins, was an active and celebrated member of the community. 

His loss has left his legions of friends he accumulated across the region he called home for the past decade reeling in grief. 

Brock Roebuck used to work at The Avenue Tavern – Symonds’ local haunt – and described the ex-cricketer to Daily Mail Australia as ‘an absolute legend’.

Locals have flocked online to honour the sporting icon who was a beloved member of the community 

‘Roy had time for everyone,’ he said.

‘He was everyone’s friend – you could ask him for anything and he’d be there because that what Roy was like.

‘He didn’t drink every night, but when he did he really got on it – he was a real character.’

When speaking about the moment Symonds levelled a streaker during a One-Day International match against India at the Gabba in 2008, Mr Roebuck’s eyes lit up.

‘It was the most incredible moment,’ he said. ‘Of course he didn’t mean to hurt the guy.’

Mr Roebuck said his death was a great loss and that the whole town would miss him.

Symonds’ death has shocked the world and left the nation in mourning as police work to determine why Symonds – the only person in the car – veered off the path (pictured with his niece Abby Dobson)

Abby Dobson penned a gutwrenching tribute to her uncle Roy, who she said was a father figure to her

Meanwhile, Abby Dobson, Symonds’ niece, penned a gutwrenching post online describing how she was ‘devastated and beyond lost for words’.

‘I wish this was all a bad dream, you were like a dad to me,’ she wrote.

‘May you rest in peace uncle Roy you were 1 in a million and had my back like no other I will forever miss you n love you with my whole heart.

‘Don’t run too much of a muck up there big fella, I’ll keep doing you proud I promise.’

Alongside the post, Ms Dobson shared a collection of photos highlighting memories she will always cherish of her uncle, showing the pair betting together at the TAB, attending rodeos, drinking, and fishing. 

In one chilling video shows Symonds filming himself cruising along a dirt road in his maroon ute with his two dogs in the back tray. 

His two beloved blue heelers were also in the vehicle at the time of the crash, but survived. 

‘Cruiser dog!’ he says from the driver’s seat after panning the camera to show the pets in the back.   

Symonds was on Hervey Range Road near Alice River Bridge when the accident occurred, and he was removed from the vehicle to be treated by paramedics, who were on the scene when officers arrived.

Despite the best efforts of emergency services to revive him, Symonds died at the scene. 

Inspector Gavin Oates told the Courier Mail there is no suggestion alcohol was involved, and said nearby residents were at the scene.

One of the world’s most spectacular players, he was an extremely aggressive batsman who displayed great power and timing, and his crafty off-break and medium-pace bowling claimed 24 Test wickets and another 133 scalps in one-dayers.

Symonds blasts the sort of powerful stroke he was known and loved for during Australia’s 2005 match against the World XI in Melbourne 

His career highlights include saving the 2006 Boxing Day Ashes Test for Australia with a stellar knock of 156 – his first century in the long form of the game – a high score of 162 against India in 2008, and taking a career-best 5/18 in a 2005 one-dayer.

At one stage he held the world record for most sixes during a first-class match, and opened fans’ eyes to what a batter could do in T20 cricket with a century from just 34 balls during the format’s infancy in 2004.

Symonds was also arguably the best fielder in cricket, with lightning reflexes and an incredibly accurate throwing arm leaving him in equal fifth on the list of most run-outs in ODI cricket, with the fourth highest success rate.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting, who led the team for much of Symonds’ career, called him the best fielder he ever saw.

He sported distinctive brown dreadlocks for his entire career, as well as shielding his lips from the sun with glowing white zinc in what became his trademark look.

Source: Read Full Article