A leading rugby league charity has offered its support to former star Sandy Campbell following news the ex-player was experiencing homelessness and was recently diagnosed with throat cancer.
The former Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, South Sydney Rabbitohs and Sydney Roosters cult figure played 93 first grade games in the 1980s and 90s and was considered a glamour boy of rugby league
Campbell – nicknamed ‘The Sandman’ and ‘Dancing Sandy from Samarai’ – after the island and former administrative capital in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea, where he hails from – was a rugby league star who was loved by fans and was a flashy, try-scoring winger with a burst of speed.
At the peak of his powers, Campbell featured on the front cover of Rugby League Week posing as Michael Jackson with the headline ‘BAD – The Dancin’ Bulldog. The remarkable talents of a Bulldogs flyer.’
Nowadays, the 56-year-old sleeps on a beach and is often spotted at a St Vincent de Paul homeless shelter in Tweed Heads collecting a hot meal.
Charity organisation Family of League formerly Men of League said on Sunday it had made contact with Campbell and was working to support him.
“Family of League would like to thank everyone from around the country who have reached out to us with concern for former Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Sandy Campbell,” it said on social media.
“We have located Sandy and we will work with the Bulldogs to assist him in any way we can.”
The development came just days after it was revealed Campbell spends his days wandering the streets with all his possessions in a shopping trolley and sleeps at night under Coolangatta surf club on the Gold Coast.
He is estranged from his wife and twin daughters and has reportedly struggled after retiring from footy in 1991 and has ‘lounge hopped’ for the last 20 years while working as a security guard and tattoo artist.
To make matters worse, according to a News Corp report, a month ago Campbell was diagnosed with throat cancer with good friend Darren Smith revealing Campbell has to regularly visit a local hospital for chemotherapy and then leave with a tube that self-administers the treatment.
“He’s got nothing… He just started treatment but has got nowhere to stay, nowhere to go and no help,” Smith told News Corp.
“At the moment, he is sleeping on the beach underneath one of the surf clubs at Coolangatta.
“I saw him the other day and thought: ‘What the f***, are you serious?’ Look at him, he’s connected up to this (medical) s*** and pushing his trolley – how do you help?”
Campbell’s former teammates are rallying around him.
“It’s been sad – he was fine until a year or so ago when things fell apart,” former teammate Kurt Landers told Wide World of Sports.
“I am determined to help him out and so have plenty of other guys who played with and against him.
“I’m going up to the Gold Coast soon to check in on him and we are looking to set up a GoFundMe page to help him.”
Landers said he hopes the fans can get behind the fallen star.
“Hopefully the fans who he gave a lot of joy to can pitch in,” Landers said.