“When a Game Becomes Life and Death”


The Sunday Mail and The Courier-Mail




All Media: Sports Journalism

From April 2013 to March 2015, five young men who held NRL contracts took their own lives. Garry’s reports exposed the ruthless culture of the NRL’s feeder systems, such as the National Youth Competition. The investigation prompted the NRL to launch a probe into the spate of suicides, and to provide more counselling to young players; 2016 will be the final year of the National Youth Competition. Chris Garry is a sports journalist for The Sunday Mail and The Courier-Mail. Garry is in his fourth year with The Courier-Mailafter he spent 18 months at The Queensland Times newspaper. This is his first Walkley.

Judges’ comments:

Chris Garry’s work tackled a tragic component in the professional superstructure of rugby league in a sensitive manner. Revealing an increasing number of suicides among youths going through the NRL feeder system, Garry’s reports prompted an inquiry by the sport’s governing body and led to a change in the way it manages its raw recruits. His work has not only forced authorities to act on this silent scourge on the game but has, quite possibly, saved lives.