The mystery woman on the arm of quadriplegic former NRL player Alex McKinnon may be revealed to be a glamorous young social worker ten years his junior.
Former Newcastle Knights player McKinnon, 32, and fellow Newcastle University student Lily Malone, 22, shared an image of each other hugging on their Instagram pages on Sunday.
McKinnon posted the photo of them both dressed in pink at Malone’s 22nd birthday party, just hours before the NRL season opener began in Las Vegas on Sunday.
Moments later, Malone featured McKinnon on her own Instagram page, sharing the same photo with a love heart emoji.
Malone’s mother Monique did not deny the pair were an item when contacted by Daily Mail Australia on Monday.
Lily Malone shared a candid photo of herself with Alex McKinnon, along with a love heart, over the weekend.
The 22-year-old brunette bombshell is studying social work at Newcastle University, where McKinnon is studying psychology.
“I won’t comment on their relationship, that’s up to them,” Mrs Malone said.
Lily Malone is studying a degree in social work at Newcastle University. McKinnon also studies psychology there and works for Fox Sports as a reporter and analyst.
Malone, who works as a family contact worker at Life Without Barriers, recently shared that she will soon become a qualified social worker.
“In collaboration with a small, dedicated team, I have developed an eight-session program tailored to the unique needs of ‘parents of first-time youth offenders in a domestic violence context,'” he recently posted on his LinkedIn page.
McKinnon’s romance comes after he split from ex-wife Teigan Power in January 2022 after five years of marriage, three children and his own horrific accident on the football field that left him a quadriplegic.
When they separated, both parties confirmed that the separation was amicable and that they remained committed to co-parenting their children, twins Audrey and Violet, and eldest daughter Harriet.
Power went public with her new love, Jake Nelson, late last year.
Lily recently celebrated with a ‘pink’-themed 22nd birthday that McKinnon attended
McKinnon was left a quadriplegic after suffering a spinal cord injury in a Round 3 match against the Melbourne Storm in 2014.
The former couple had three children: Harriet, four years old, and twins Audrey and Violet, two years old.
Last year, McKinnon said he and Power were still bound by a strong, close friendship.
“We are still very close,” he told News Corp.
‘Being a father is a very important job and having a strong relationship with your mother is equally important.
“We are still good friends, we both realize that we are role models for children and we have to show them that supporting each other is the only way to be.”
McKinnon proposed to his high school sweetheart from his hospital bed just days after his promising NRL career was cut short in March 2014 when he suffered a devastating spinal cord injury in a horrific on-field accident. He was just 22 years old.
He suffered fractures to his C4 and C5 vertebrae after a dangerous tackle near half-time of a Round 3 clash against the Melbourne Storm. McKinnon proposed to Power just 14 days after breaking his spine.
McKinnon and Power married in an intimate ceremony in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley in October 2017.
The former Knights star promised his girlfriend he would get out of his wheelchair when she popped the question, and that’s what he did at their wedding.
The couple were together for 12 years and married for five before their relationship quietly came to an end.
McKinnon’s father Scott told Daily Mail Australia at the time that McKinnon was “fine, but it’s really sad – what can you do?”
‘I know he’s a good boy, but Alex is a reserved guy.
“It’s very, very sad.”