Players honour team-mate Jordan Kemp, 17

Last updated 22:29 07/07/2014
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TRAGIC: Jordan Kemp was taken to Auckland hospital after his collapse but never recovered.

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Team-mates of a teenage Northland rugby player who died after an on-field accident will play an emotionally-charged tribute match in honour of him.

Talented hooker Jordan Kemp, a triplet, collapsed during a game between his Otamatea Hawks side and Old Boys Marist in Whangarei on Saturday.

It is believed he suffered a brain bleed after a clash of heads.

The Otamatea Hawks were tonight told the Kemp family wished the team would play this weekend, rather than sit out the game.

Club president Kevin Robinson said the game against HoraHora at Maungaturoto this Saturday was likely to draw a large crowd in support of Jordan and his family.

“It’ll be huge – the family are really well known in this area, not only for rugby but in the whole community.”

"They were really supportive for it to go ahead.

“I think it will be tough for them and for the players (this week), hopefully the emotions are harnessed in the right direction.”

One of Jordan’s relatives may also be lining up with the team, Robinson said.

Jordan’s uncle who flew over from Brisbane at the weekend is an occasional fill-in player, and it was a chance to play in Saturday's match, he said.

No date has yet been set for the funeral.

Northland Rugby Union chief executive Jeremy Parkinson earlier confirmed the teen had suffered a concussion earlier in season and been "blue carded", which meant a mandatory three-week minimum stand down.

Northland Rugby is trialling the world-first International Rugby Board-sanctioned pilot scheme, which gave referees the power to order players off the field if they suspected a serious head knock.

"It avoids the worst-case scenario that we might come across once or twice a year when a player is concussed and everybody knows it, and the coach and the physio try to remove the player but he won't go," Parkinson said.

Jordan had been the first player of the season blue carded and, as the rules dictated, had to see a doctor immediately after the game and get sign off before he took the field again.

He did not play for five weeks after the concussion but Parkinson said he had played for the last six weeks "symptom free", before last weekend.

The union will now liaise with the referee from the weekend's game to put together a "serious injury report", which will be passed on to the New Zealand Rugby Union.

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But at the moment, Parkinson said the focus was on Jordan's family.

"It's a huge tragedy and it's touched a whole lot of people," he said.

"We've just got to offer our full support to the family and honour Jordan's short life."

Otamatea club president Kevin Robinson, who was at Saturday's game, told Radio New Zealand how the incident had affected the entire community.

"You don't know how vulnerable you are until you see a young fellow lying on the ground," he said.

"I was in the stand, about 25 metres from the ground. All I actually saw was Jordan was on the ground, he attempted to get back up and fell back down again."

Jordan's cousin Kelsey Orford, 17, said Jordan was well liked by everyone and they were now waiting for his body to be returned to the local marae.

Sister Crishla Kemp posted on Facebook that her brother died yesterday at 3.45pm.

"In the end your with us in spirit my bro I know you'll always be watching over us and I love you soooooo much you have no idea my bro save a spot for me up in heaven for me ! .see you around my bro .rest easy," she wrote.

Jordan came from a rugby-loving family with grandfather Russell Kemp a well-known coach in the area in the 1990s.

- Stuff

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