The club said Hoggart’s death was the result of a balcony fall during New Year’s Eve celebrations in South Bank, Brisbane.
Mr O’Keeffe said he was informed of Hoggart’s death at 2am on New Year’s Day.
“Everywhere I go [in Griffith] people who don’t even know me through footy say how terrible it is,” he said. “Personally I’m handling it OK, but there’s no textbook, so we’ve had to go to the professionals. This, to me, is right out of my league.”
Mr O’Keeffe said the NRL had provided support to the club, providing suicide prevention professionals to talk to the players and staff.
As a result of Vincent’s death, the club organised a barbecue to encourage players and staff to gather and discuss mental health. Mr O’Keeffe said it had become doubly important for those affected to get together on Saturday.
“What really worries me is that a lot of stuff was said on Facebook earlier on, a lot of those messages were a bit worrying,” he said of people taking to social media to express their grief over Vincent’s death. “The leaders of the club some of them are struggling, so I said we need to get everyone together.”
Hoggart coached the club’s under-18 side, of which Vincent was a part, to a premiership win in 2017.
Hoggart played in the club’s first-grade side, which won the premiership the same year.
Anthony Mundine had been mentoring Vincent before his sudden death, stating that the emerging forward was “destined for big things”.
Mr O’Keeffe said Vincent was going through “some personal things” in life.
“Without going into too much detail, for a boy of 19, there was a lot going on his life,” he said.
Hoggart was described by the club as “admired by his players, teammates and the football club”.
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Sarah is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.