Kangaroos players have paid tribute to Liam Hampson in devastating scenes before their win over Scotland at the Rugby League World Cup.
Hampson was found dead in Barcelona this week after a tragic accident at a nightclub, leaving the rugby league community in shock.
'RIDICULOUS': Fans erupt over Nathan Cleary act at World Cup
The Redcliffe hooker had been in Europe for several weeks with a group of NRL players including Gold Coast star AJ Brimson, as well as Brisbane Broncos players Jordan Riki and Jesse Arthars.
Barcelona police confirmed on Thursday morning that the 24-year-old's body was found on a nightclub floor after a fall from a substantial height.
On Friday, Kangaroos players wore black arm bands during their clash with Scotland in Coventry and observed a minute's silence before the game.
In heartbreaking scenes, Isaah Yeo could be seen wiping away a tear after the minute's silence.
The Kangaroos were told of Hampson's death when they arrived in Coventry on Wednesday.
Front-rower Patrick Carrigan, who was close friends with Hampson, played the match against Scotland in the late player's honour.
"He is comfortable with that (playing at the moment)," coach Mal Meninga said ahead of the match.
"Everyone needs time to grieve, sometimes you just jump back on the bike and keep going - that is a way of handling it as well.
"At some stage all his close friends, particularly over here, will be grieving. We will support them as best we can. Being so far away from home is the thing too."
Meninga said the Hampson family were in the Kangaroos' thoughts.
"We're very much behind them all and in the back of our minds we will be playing for them tomorrow," he said.
The tragic death of Hampson, who played hooker for Tweed and Redcliffe in the Queensland Cup, has sparked a fundraising campaign to return the talented player's body to Australia.
🇦🇺 Australia vs 🏴 Scotland
Before the Match started in #Coventry, there was a minute of silence, to remember the #Australian #RugbyLeague player Liam Hampson - who sadly died recently, while on holiday in Spain.#RestInPeace #LiamHampson
📷 BBC Sport (BBC Two) pic.twitter.com/l3FVOvYOQb
— 🇬🇧🇺🇦 VWH Portsmouth | Solidarity with Ukraine (@VWHPortsmouth) October 21, 2022
— Lizzy E🌏🇬🇧🏴🇮🇪🇮🇳🇫🇷🇧🇻🦕 (@scattysmum) October 21, 2022
This is so sad. Liam Hampson’s father Brett issues this statement, after the Rugby League player was found dead in a Barcelona nightclub. The Redcliffe Dolphins star was holidaying with fellow QLD players 💔 @TheTodayShow pic.twitter.com/THCe8CLJcj
— Mia Glover (@miaglover_9) October 19, 2022
Nathan Cleary leads Australia to huge win over Scotland
Meanwhile, Nathan Cleary has emphasised his credentials to become Meninga's first-choice halfback after scoring 28 points on debut in a 84-0 demolition of Scotland.
Cleary was one of six debutants named by Australia and wasted little time making an impact as the Kangaroos put Scotland to the sword.
Watched by his father Ivan, the Penrith playmaker kicked 12 goals from 15 attempts, had three try assists and scored a try of his own.
He fell just short of Andrew Johns's record of points for a debutant (30 v South Africa, 1995) as Scotland were torn to pieces from the first minute to the last.
Still, his performance was not enough to be named man of the match, with winger Josh Addo-Carr receiving the award for a four-try haul in a victory which was Australia's second biggest ever at a World Cup.
Cleary's dominant display - admittedly against a Scotland side with just a handful of full-time professionals - will give Meninga something to consider ahead of next week's final group stage game with Italy.
Daly Cherry-Evans and Cleary are likely to line up in the halves together in a dead rubber against the Italians after Australia inflicted a record defeat on the Scots.
"We excelled tonight, you've got to be happy with that," Meninga said.
"We came with a clear plan, and our ball control was excellent in those conditions.
"All those little things we did really well. We were relentless with it through the 80 minutes.
"He (Cleary) feels like part of the team now. He controlled the game really well and that's what we want from our key guys."
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