Full Time
7:35pm Sat May 27, 2023
Round 13 - Accor Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park / Wanngal - Crowd: 12382

Match Overview

An hour of great attacking football, strong forward battles and an entertaining see-sawing scoreline was abruptly halted in the 65th minute when Corey Harawira-Naera collapsed and suffered a seizure shortly after a regulation hit-up, which resulted in him being stretchered off.

Canberra were leading 24-20 at the time, but Souths scored shortly after the incident to take a 2 point lead going into the final 10 minutes of the game. Canberra responded with a converted try, a penalty goal and a field goal to record a brilliant 33-26 victory.

Souths opened the scoring in the eighth minute when Cody Walker dished a short ball to Jed Cartwright who burst through a gap, evades the cover defender to score a good try. Blake Taaffe failed to convert the try.

The Raiders forwards lifted a gear and in the 14th minute, Josh Papali'i broke a tackle and then offloaded superbly to Pasami Saulo  who made an extra ten minutes. A quick play-the-ball allowed the Raiders to swing the ball out to the right side to Corey Horsburgh, who ran straight and busted through the Souths line to score. Jarrod Croker converted and Canberra took the lead 6-4.

From the restart, Canberra went the length of the field and then forced Souths ingoal to earn a repeat set. This time they spread the ball to the left side where Croker put Albert Hopoate in for a try in the corner. Croker failed to convert from touch.

The Raiders forwards linked again in the 22nd minute when Horsburgh and Tapine combined to almost give the latter a try, but on the next play they sent the ball out left to Hopoate who again scored in the corner. Croker converted and Canberra scored 16 points in as many minutes to lead 16-4.

Souths got back into the game with a 31st minute try to Alex Johnston in the left corner, but Taaffe again failed to convert.

Just before halftime, Croker kicked a penalty goal from in front and at the break, Canberra lead 18-8.

Souths came out very strong in the second half and in the 47th minute were rewarded when Walker dished a beautiful flat ball to Isaiah Tass, who busted through the Raiders defence to score a good try. Taaffe converted from out wide.

Just four minutes later, Souths scored again when Walker held up a nice ball for Tass who then sent Johnston in to score in the left corner again. Taaffe converted and in the space of 5 minutes they reclaimed the lead, albeit by just 2 points.

The lead though was short lived when Canberra hit back just 2 minutes later, courtesy of some Jack Wighton brilliance, when he ran to the left, got through the line before passing to Croker in space who raced down the sideline before passing infield to Tom Starling who scored. Croker again converted. And Canberra lead 24-20.

In the 65th minute Corey Harawira-Naera was running back into the line after a regulation hit-up, he then stumbled and collapsed before suffering a brief seizure. Players from both sides encircled him while the medics attended to him. He was eventually put on a stretcher and taken from the field on the medicab. He regained consciousness and was reportedly sitting up and talking in the sheds shortly after, but was taken to Westmead hospital for observation.

Once play resumed, Walker at dummy half and close to the Raiders line, grubbered into the ingoal and Damien Cook following through scored a good try. Taaffe converted and Souths lead 26-24 with 10 minutes remaining.

Wighton struck back again with 5 minutes remaining when he got a lovely ball away while falling forward in a tackle, to Jordan Rapana who made 20 metres, drew the fullback and then passed to Hopoate who scored his third try. Croker converted from touch to give the Raiders the lead again.

Croker than landed a penalty goal with 2 minutes remaining and then Jamal Fogarty iced the game with a 79th minute field goal, giving the Raiders a well-earnt 7 point victory.

3. Josh Papali'i

Papali'i was an absolute beast, especially in the first half. Canberra won off the back of his stellar work

2. Cody Walker

Walker got the Bunnies back in the game and got them the lead. He was superb.

1. Jack Wighton

Wighton was relatively quiet in the first half, but his second half basically snatched victory away from the Bunnies.