The New Zealand Rugby League has passed on its sympathies to Jeremy Marshall-King and his whanau following the death of his father Shane King in a car accident near Tauranga this week.

Marshall-King, half-brother of Kiwi legend Benji Marshall, was in camp with the New Zealand World Cup Nines team in Sydney when he learned of the crash.

Shane King (51), of Putaruru, was involved in an accident on State Highway 29 in the Lower Kaimai area on Tuesday night. Police divers later found his body inside the car which had ended up submerged in the Wairoa River after leaving the road.

Marshall-King spent the day with family on Wednesday before returning to camp, telling team management and his fellow players that it was his wish to play in the World Cup Nines in honour of his father.

He is set to make his Kiwi debut in New Zealand’s opening match against Australia at the tournament tonight.

“We are all feeling for Jeremy and his family and have rallied around him to give him all the support we can this week,” said Kiwi head coach Michael Maguire.

“He had time away but has told us he wants to play for his country and we’re all behind him to help him achieve his goal.

“We also wish to pass on our deepest condolences to Jeremy’s family at this sad time.”

The Kiwis and the Kiwi Ferns will wear black armbands as a mark of respect to the Marshall-King family when they line up in their matches against Australia tonight.