Jordan Riki scored a big try in the first-ever NRL All-Star game to be hosted in Aotearoa, and crossing the line was an emotional moment for the forward.
In a tied game between the Māori and Indigenous All-Stars, Riki battled his way to the try line, evading four tackles and clawing his way off the ground to dot down before sharing a message to his late friend.
“I love you, Hampo bro... I love you, bro," he told the camera pointed at him. Hampo being Liam Hampson - a rugby league player who sadly passed away while on holiday in Europe with Riki and other mates. Jordan shared a clip of his celebration in an Instagram post after the game. "This one was for you," he said in the caption, tagging Hampo.
Jordan told Newshub that he played the game with the Hampson whānau in mind.
“I dedicated that try and this game to him, Liam, and his family as well,” he said. “Liam and his beautiful family, if you're watching, I love you and I'll see you guys very soon.”
"I was trying to hold in tears, I guess. It was such a hard time for myself and my friends, and his family as well, so I just wanted to go out there and do his family proud,” he added.
"I was trying to hold back tears, but it's one of those things and feelings I'll never forget."
The game itself was a huge moment for all involved, beginning before the players even took the field. The week leading up to the match, the Māori and Indigenous squads were greeted at Rotorua’s Te Papaiouru Marae with a pōwhiri.
Riki said that having the All-Star matchup in Rotorua was a huge moment for his heritage.
"It's always an emotional week for me, obviously representing my whanau and culture, but bringing it home for the first time is an amazing and beautiful feeling,” he told Newshub.
“Playing in front of such a beautiful crowd here in Rotorua too - it's an experience I'll always cherish.”
Unfortunately, the Indigenous All-Stars ended up winning the game 28 - 24, but that doesn’t make it any less memorable.