ELWYN Ravu, who died unexpectedly last week at the age of 48, is remembered in Leeton as a perfect gentleman who would do anything for anyone.
Elwyn’s close mate Brian King said he was struggling to come to terms with the loss. “Personally I’m deeply shocked,” he said. “He was a great personal mate of mine.”
Mr King first saw Mr Ravu play in a rugby league match in Papua New Guinea in the 1980s.
“I was living in PNG at the time. I left in 1990 and the Leeton Greenies asked if I could get a few footballers (from PNG),” Mr King said.
Mr Ravu loved living in Australia and was a very talented rugby league player, playing 101 games for Leeton in reserves and A grade.
He was a member of the premiership team which defeated the Waratah Tigers in 1997. “He was very quick off the mark,” Mr King said.
Mr King said Mr Ravu was almost deported before he was granted residency in 2007. “He was put in the lock-up at Griffith overnight and we had to bail him out.”
“He did everything he could to stay in Australia,” Mr King said, who helped Mr Ravu with his visa application.
He recalled that Mr Ravu was over the moon when he found out he had been granted residency.
Mr King said Mr Ravu and rarely missed a Greenies match and he enjoyed a beer with mates if the team won.
He said Mr Ravu was “very kind hearted” and will be sorely missed by the Leeton community.
President of Leeton Phantoms Bart Challacombe said Mr Ravu was a doting father who loved watching his children play in Group 20 matches.
“He never missed a game his children were playing in.”
“He was the perfect gentleman,” Mr Challacombe said. “He was friendly and willing to help, he would do anything for anyone.”
Family members have flown from Papua New Guinea for today’s funeral service. Mr Ravu will be laid to rest at Leeton No 1 Oval at 11am.
He is survived by his wife Lyn and children Shane 20, Ua 18, Elwyn Junior 14, and Janiana 11.