NSW Origin rookie Stefano Utoikamanu opens up on NRL star mate Keith Titmuss who died


NSW Blues prop Stefano Utoikamanu will dedicate his first Origin game to childhood mate and fellow NRL star who shocked the footy world when he died after training aged just 20

  • Keith Titmuss died in November of 2020 aged just 20
  • Collapsed after a training session with the Sea Eagles
  • Death rocked the close-knit rugby league community 

When Stefano Utoikamanu runs out for NSW on June 21, he won’t be intimidated by the parochial Queensland crowd at Suncorp Stadium.

Instead, giving his all in memory of his great mate, former Sea Eagles young gun Keith Titmuss, will be firmly on his mind.

In November 2020, Titmuss tragically died aged just 20 following a pre-season non-contact training session at Narrabeen, on Sydney‘s northern beaches.

The emerging forward collapsed and his condition rapidly deteriorated before he was pronounced dead at Royal North Shore Hospital.

Titmuss’s passing rocked the Manly playing group – and Utoikamanu, who was best mates with the rising star many predicted was on the cusp of achieving big things in the game.

When Stefano Utoikamanu runs out for NSW on June 21, he won't be intimidated by the parochial Queensland crowd at Suncorp Stadium

When Stefano Utoikamanu runs out for NSW on June 21, he won’t be intimidated by the parochial Queensland crowd at Suncorp Stadium

Instead, he'll be concentrating on excelling for the Blues in memory of his great mate, former Sea Eagles young gun Keith Titmuss (pictured) who was just 20 when he died three years ago

Instead, he’ll be concentrating on excelling for the Blues in memory of his great mate, former Sea Eagles young gun Keith Titmuss (pictured) who was just 20 when he died three years ago

Utoikamanu has been a standout for the Wests Tigers this season and will come off the bench for NSW

Utoikamanu has been a standout for the Wests Tigers this season and will come off the bench for NSW

The pair represented the Cabramatta Two Blues in junior rugby league and attended school together at Westfield Sports High. 

Utoikamanu was then graded by the Eels, making his first grade debut in 2020, while Titmuss cut his teeth in the lower grades with the Sea Eagles.

He scored the match-winning try for Manly in the 2017 NYC under-20s Grand Final, before he was named the Jersey Flegg Cup Players’ Player in 2019.

Tragedy then struck, leaving the rugby league community in disbelief.

 ‘It’s so sad what happened to him,’ Utoikamanu told News Corp.

‘We grew up together. You never know what is going to happen in life. He passed so young, it’s a really sad story.’

Utoikamanu, who has been a standout for the Wests Tigers this season, confirmed he is ‘always thinking’ of Titmuss and has no doubt ‘he will be watching over me.’

‘I will be playing (Origin II) for him and his family, I love them like brothers,’ he added.

‘I would have loved to have played with him. I have no doubt he would have played a lot of NRL games. He was a gun player.’



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