Ryan Tandy was found dead with drug overdose at the end of April 2014 and his funeral gathered together everyone who still loved and appreciated him despite his notorious past.
Rob Brown, sports psychologist, was one of the people, who attended the farewell ceremony of the rugby player, commented: “The real Ryan is somebody who will be, by those who knew him, cherished and will be missed for the rest of their lives.”
He continued explaining the questionable relationship, which is often established between sportsmen and crime, saying: “A lot of athletes are trained to push through their limits and not to think of the cost because the rewards are so great.”
He added: “So when they are no longer athletes, when they don’t have those supports there, when there is no coach or mentor, when it comes down to themselves and their own decision making, sometimes that’s flawed and sometimes that leads them into trouble.”
How it all started
According to the gambling news, Tandy’s betting habit was formed at the age of 14, probably developed like a coping mechanism after his father’s death.
Former NRL star player with problem gambling habit found dead
• It was reported that he started gambling at the age of 14
• Later in his life his gambling problem grew bigger
• He was convicted and banned for life from NRL after an attempt to fix a game
Josh Massoud, Tandy’s friend and sports journalist, said: “It’s been a pattern for his whole life, even going back as far as the early 2000s when he played for the Dragons. He had to go to the extent of the CEO to look after his rent, look after his groceries, and then pay him what was left, just to make sure that he had those needs met.”
Things got worse when he bet on his first match with the Canterbury Bulldogs, his new club at the time (2010), despite the explicit NRL rules, which forbid players to gamble on this sport.
Massoud continued: “Even former flatmates had no idea about this side of his life. It obviously did get to a point at that stage in his life where he was, I think the court heard, that he was about $70,000 in the hole at the Bulldogs.”
Gambling problem developed
Tandy’s favorite sports to bet were racing and NRL games and he was placing his wagers with John Schell, jockey manager and ex-journalist.
When the player’s luck was not in his favor, he reached a point when he was in deep debt of over $30,000, which was owned to Schell.
This is when he reached out to Tandy’s manager Sam Ayoub and warned him that he would go public with the information in front of the whole Bulldogs’ team, if the player didn’t pay back.
The story goes even shadier when Schell was approached by a mutual acquaintance of him and Tandy, who warned him: “You’d want to drop off chasing Tandy for that money. He is tied up with people that you don’t want to know. You don’t want these types of blokes turning up at your front door.”
Naturally, Schell got frightened and informed the player that his debt was forgotten, and received the following message: “Sounds good because I didn’t want things to get ugly.”
Still he decided to inform the Bulldogs management about the whole situation and revealed to them the gambling debt case of Tandy. The team’s manager Alan Thompson and the CEO at the time Todd Greenberg (now NRL’s deputy chief executive) didn’t take any official actions and just advised him to reach out to the player’s manager.
Both executives denied this meeting and then followed even more serious problems.
The unfortunate game
Just a few days after the abovementioned meeting, the Bulldogs played the North Queensland Cowboys. This unfortunate game brought Tandy’s NRL career to a sad end.
The events of the game followed an “exotic bet” which was taking place off the field and against Australian gambling laws that the Cowboys will score first with a penalty goal.
Here’s where Tandy’s role became leading as he had to set the stage in the right way, so that bettors would win over $100,000.
His move was to intentionally hold down a player in a tackle, so that a penalty would be given to the Cowboys. However, the plan didn’t work out well and instead of taking a quick kick, the Cowboys held the ball and scored a try.
Soon after, the NRL initiated an investigation regarding the penalty and the betting scheme, so in the beginning of 2011 the police charged Tandy and other people involved, for the suspected fix.
Hassan Saleh, friend and teammate of Tandy, was one of the people who bet on the match, commented: “He honestly thought that it was going to go away, he would keep playing footy. And then six months later, we were living together at the time, police rocked up at our house, took mobile phones, took everything and then he sort of got the point.”
The fatal end
By the end of 2011, Tandy was convicted of dishonestly trying to obtain a financial advantage and influencing the game he was part of.
Despite the fact that other players were suspected as well, he was the only person convicted and banned for life from the NRL.
Massoud, commented: “He was pretty much outcast from the game for life before he was even found guilty in front of a court. And I think when that happens, and when somebody doesn’t have any hope left, their options are shut off and they can spiral out of control.”
This year Tandy reached his lowest point when he took part in a drug related kidnapping. The victim was abducted by a group of men, one of which was the former player. They wanted him to provide them with drugs and money.
Later the next day, Tandy was arrested and unfortunately he didn’t wait for the trail. He was found dead from a drug overdose, which was later, announced as a prescribed medicine.