The former Warriors league player who died after setting fire to a vehicle killing his wife and three young children in Australia is the brother of a former New Zealand rugby star.

Rowan Baxter, a member of the 2005 Warriors squad, died in a "horrific" car fire that was allegedly deliberately lit on a Brisbane street this morning.

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The Courier Mail reported the couple were in a custody battle over their three young children - Laianah, Aaliyah and Trey and that police had been called to previous family violence incidents.

Baxter turned to fitness coaching after his playing career and worked with several current NRL stars.

It is understood he owned a gym Integr8 Fitness in Capalaba with wife Hannah.

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Rowan Baxter (L) with his brother Charles. Photo / Facebook
Rowan Baxter (L) with his brother Charles. Photo / Facebook

Authorities arrived at the scene in Camp Hill about 8.30am local time after receiving reports a car was on fire. ABC reported three children, all under the age of 10, and their father died after the car was allegedly set alight.

Australian media identified Baxter as one of four victims - while a fifth person, believed to be Hannah Baxter, reportedly scrambled from the car screaming: "He poured petrol on me."

She was taken to hospital with "extensive injuries".

Rowan Baxter with his wife and three children. Photo / Facebook
Rowan Baxter with his wife and three children. Photo / Facebook

Rowan Baxter, who grew up in the Tauranga region where he attended Tauranga Boys' College, played a pre-season game for the New Zealand Warriors against the Eels in 2005 and also represented New Zealand A a year earlier.

He was the brother of former rugby star Charles, who played as a wing for the Bay of Plenty Steamers and represented New Zealand on the international sevens circuit for five seasons between 2003 and 2007.

(L-R) New Zealand's Adam Thomson, captain DJ Forbes and Charles Baxter celebrate with the the IRB Sevens World Series Cup after the Scotland Sevens Series final in June 2007. Photo / Photosport
(L-R) New Zealand's Adam Thomson, captain DJ Forbes and Charles Baxter celebrate with the the IRB Sevens World Series Cup after the Scotland Sevens Series final in June 2007. Photo / Photosport

Long-serving staff member of Tauranga Boys' Rob Leslie said he remembered both Baxter brothers attending the school, with Rowan standing out amongst his peers as an athlete.

Jonelle Baxter, Charles' wife and Rowan's sister-in-law, told the Herald the family wouldn't be commenting on the circumstances around the tragedy as it is "a sensitive time".

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