19-year-old player dies after rugby league match injury

NEWCASTLE, Australia (AP) — Teenage rugby league player Joel Dark has died in hospital five days after collapsing following a head injury in his senior debut for a club in Newcastle, north of Sydney.

Dark, the cousin of Australian international forward Boyd Cordner, had been in a critical condition in Newcastle’s John Hunter hospital, where he underwent surgery after the Sunday injury.

The New South Wales Rugby League, which runs the sport in the state, confirmed Dark’s death in a statement on Friday. He was 19.

All senior games in Newcastle have postponed this weekend out of respect for Dark and his family.

The Newcastle Knights and Cordner’s club, the Sydney Roosters, are reported to be discussing an on-field tribute to Dark at their National Rugby League match because of his links to both clubs.

“The Dark family have many friends throughout our team and town, and we are standing alongside them today mourning this unimaginable loss,” Knights general manager Danny Buderus said.

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