A RUGBY LEAGUE player who lived in Newton-le-Willows has been killed after his car smashed into a tree.

Swinton Lions forward Dana Wilson, a Cook Island international, died in a crash in Burtonwood during the early hours of Sunday morning, the club’s chairman John Kidd has announced.

The 28-year-old prop lived with his wife Kirsten and three children in Newton-le-Willows.

Wilson was born in Auckland but had played in England for the last six years. He was a key member of Swinton’s promotion-winning team in Co-operative Championship 1 this year.

In a statement Swinton Rugby League club said it “would like to pass on its deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to the family of Dana Wilson who passed away this morning following a road traffic accident”.

The statement continued: “The news of the tragic loss of such a popular character and hard-working and influential player has rocked the club to its foundations.”

Mr Kidd added: “The club is in deep shock at this devastating news.

“Dana was a great personality who has made a massive contribution to the success the club has achieved this season.

“He was a big character both on and off the pitch and our sympathy goes out to his family both here and in New Zealand.”

Cheshire police say Mr Wilson was travelling in a silver Fiat Punto along Lumber Lane towards Burtonwood at about 3.30am.

The car left the road near to the junction with Forshaw Lane and collided with a tree.

Wilson had previously played for Oldham, Leigh and Halifax before joining Swinton two years ago.