David Riccio , The Sunday Telegraph | May 25, 2019 6:00pm
Rugby league legend Greg Alexander is reliving the harrowing death of his brother in a fatal car crash — in the hope the powerful safe driving message will influence his sons.
Alexander’s 19-year-old son Liam is on his P-plates and 16-year-old son Braith is learning to drive.
“It’s not an easy thing to drum into their heads, that what they do on the road not only impacts them but it impacts families and communities,’’ Alexander said.
And now he is sending that message to all young drivers in an incredibly powerful three-minute advertisement.
NRL legend Greg Alexander with his three sons Liam, 19, Ben, 10, Beau 11 and Braith 16. Picture: Tim Hunter
In the video, Alexander relives the gut-wrenching moment he lost his brother and former Penrith premiership-winning footballer Ben to a car crash 27 years ago.
Alexander is the chief adviser to NSW State of Origin coach Brad Fittler, who also features in the video.
The campaign will be launched this week in a partnership between Transport for NSW and the NSW Rugby League, whose Knock-On Effect campaign will be released during the upcoming State of Origin series.
Greg had to fight back tears during the powerful three minute video.
“When I heard about the campaign from the NSWRL I thought: ‘Well, I’ve got a pretty powerful story about that, even though it’s a heartbreaking story’,’’ Alexander said.
“I’ve spoken about Ben before and I can do it quite comfortably.
“But when I sat down to do the interview, I was transported back to that time, it was a bit surreal.
“I probably haven’t done that before and go back to how I was feeling, even before Ben’s crash. It was pretty tough to do but that didn’t bother me, that I was feeling like that.
“I just knew, that if this is a campaign to try and make people take notice, I guess this will make people take notice. Even though it was a difficult thing to do, it was necessary. I was just being honest.’’
Brothers Greg and Ben Alexander with the premiership in 1991. Picture: Supplied
Ben was tragically killed on the way to a nightclub with mates.
Greg carrying his brother’s casket at his funeral.
Ben’s death had a huge impact on his family and the NRL community.
Ben was tragically killed on June 21, 1992.
The 20-year-old chose to leave Alexander and the Panthers players club function with some mates to visit a nightclub in the area — but he never made it.
“Ben wasn’t a reckless type person, but he was that one time. That one time cost him his life,’’ he said.
During the video, Alexander fights back tears as he recalled: “I almost had him staying with me.’’
The Sunday Telegraph and Transport for NSW are asking all motorists to Think And Drive.
Ben’s death impacted not only the Panthers but the rugby league community and the entire region.
“Drink driving was something that we just did,’’ Fittler, a former teammate of Ben, admitted in the campaign.
“But, from that day onwards, it was an absolute no. You understood the consequences and I never got in a car being under the influence again. There’s no greater situation than asking your mate to step out of a car, have a rest, get a cab, put the phone down. You’re saving lives.’’
The Sunday Telegraph, together with Transport for NSW, are asking you to Think And Drive. when you are behind the wheel you are responsible not just for the lives of those in your vehicle but those around you and the difference between crashing at 60km/h and 80km/h is catastrophic. We are asking you to stay focused, keep to the speed limit and drive to the conditions.