The Top End football community is in mourning following the tragic passing of one of its “favourite sons”, former Nichols Medal winner Warren “Wazza” Berto.
- Nichols Medal winner Warren Berto is being remembered for his sportsmanship on and off the field
- Mr Berto lost his life in a single-vehicle rollover on the Stuart Highway near Pine Creek on Monday
- Nightcliff Tigers will pay tribute to the star and pass on his number 13 guernsey to the family
It was confirmed yesterday that the 35-year-old Palmerston and Nightcliff player was killed in a single-vehicle rollover on the Stuart Highway on Monday afternoon, just south of Pine Creek.
He leaves behind three children and an extended family.
Tributes have been flowing on social media, with many celebrating Mr Berto as a “great sportsperson” and a “great bloke”.
Mr Berto played his junior football at Nightcliff Tigers as well as 141 senior games.
He tied for the league’s Best and Fairest Nichols Medal — one of the Territory’s highest football honours — with St Mary’s player Jared Ilett in the 2007-08 footy season.
He joined in on celebrations for the Tigers’ first grand final win in 54 years last Saturday.
Nightcliff to pay special tribute
Nightcliff President and family friend Jeff Borella said words could not describe how the football community was feeling at this time.
“He was still one of our favourite sons,” Mr Borella said.
“He was a great club man for us over the years you know, loved our football club.
“He achieved a lot things with our club, grand finals, semi finals, Nichols medals, best and fairest at our club.”
The Tigers plan on paying tribute to the star player and will pass his number 13 guernsey onto his family, “for his memorial, to see fit as they do with it”.
“Whether they drape the coffin with it, they keep it as a memento, we’ll do that for him absolutely,” Mr Borella said.
Magpies’ heartbreaking post
Mr Berto was a resident of Moulden and also had a long history with the Palmerston Magpies, who shared a touching post on Facebook, explaining how his passing had been a shattering loss.
“The PMFC is currently mourning for one of our own who was tragically taken away from us too early,” it said.
“Warren Berto — ‘Wazza’ it was a great privilege to have you as a part of this great club, you will be sadly missed by all.
“On behalf of the PMFC we would like to send our deepest condolences to the Peckham, Berto and Huddleston family at this sad time.
“Our hearts are with you all … Until we meet again.”
Katherine’s Eastside Football Club sent their condolences in a statement, which said Berto would be remembered as “one of Katherine’s greatest sporting exports”.
Police seek information on crash
Police were notified of the crash around 4:00pm Monday by a passer-by.
Mr Berto was the sole occupant of the vehicle and had to be cut free.
First aid was provided at the scene before he was transported to the health clinic at Pine Creek. He was declared deceased at around 5:30pm Monday.
Police are asking anyone who may have seen a Toyota Hilux with registration plates 730 701 travelling on the highway about 4:00pm, prior to the crash, to contact them.
The Northern Territory road toll now stands at seven compared to 11 at the same time last year.
Topics: accidents—other, clubs-and-associations, road-transport, darwin-0800, katherine-0850
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