The footy world is in mourning after the passing of Southport Sharks president Matthew Schneider, aged 39, after a determined battle with bowel cancer.
The Sharks, who play in the VFL, released a statement on Saturday confirming Schneider had died and would be remembered as a “respected leader, a loving family man and a true visionary”.
Schneider became a Sharks director in September 2020 – around 12 months after he presented the club’s board with a “masterplan vision that was truly prodigious”, according to Southport, to ensure the Sharks remained one of the strongest state league clubs in the country. He was then appointed club president in May 2022.
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But a few weeks after his appointment, Schneider was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer, which led to several rounds of treatment.
In a statement, the Sharks said Schneider “never gave up and was determined to fight to the very end” as he dealt with cancer.
“Whilst enduring the most challenging time of his life, Matt always remained committed to the club and its future. His positivity and strength were inspirational and true to his character. He will be remembered for his outstanding leadership and intelligence,” the Southport statement read.
“Matt’s contribution to the city will never be forgotten, and his vision for Southport Sharks will be seen for many years to come. He will be greatly missed by our board, management, Players, and Staff, and more widely, by everyone in the community who knew him. We will forever remember the respected leader, a loving family man and a true visionary.
“Our sincere condolences are with Matt’s wife, Samantha, their three children, Maggie, Louie and Oliver, his parents Ross and Laurel, and his extended family and close friends.
“In Matt’s true words … Be kind; but be fierce.”
Schneider oversaw Southport’s impressive first two seasons in the VFL. The Sharks finished second on the ladder with a 9-1 record in 2021 before the season was called off due to a Covid-enforced lockdown. They then made the 2022 grand final, only to go down to Casey Demons by 32 points.
The Sharks said Schneider would also be remembered as “an industry leader with a passion for the Gold Coast”.
Away from footy, Schneider was a director of Urbis and a leading member of the Gold Coast community, sitting on several boards and holding various public service roles.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the game extended its sincere condolences to the Schneider family.
“Matt lived life to its full, with a huge love for his family and a dedication for the Gold Coast region. Football was privileged and lucky to have him in our game and we offer our deep sympathies to Matt’s family and many friends,” McLachlan said.
Sam Schneider posted a touching tribute to her husband on Saturday morning.
“Matt has passed peacefully, and with grace, after a stoic and hard fought battle. In true Matt style, there was no fuss, he simply decided that it was time to go,” she wrote in a social media post.
“Thank you for the outpouring of love, affection and camaraderie that you have showered Matt, and our family with, during this time.
“We are broken for now, as you are too, but know that his legacy in death, as in life, will live on.”
Story Credit: foxsports.com.au