Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has revealed backrower Corey Harawira-Naera is dealing with a medical retirement following his mid-game seizure this 12 months.
Harawira-Naera hasn’t performed since collapsing on the sphere throughout the Raiders’ conflict in opposition to the Rabbitohs in Round 13.
The New Zealand Test consultant was sidelined for the remainder of the season as docs tried to resolve what triggered his seizure.
It was anticipated Harawira-Naera would return in 2024, however Stuart has confirmed the membership are all however resigned to the Kiwi by no means enjoying once more.
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“It is really sad for the kid… it’s a tragedy actually,” Stuart informed WWOS.
“The medical reports we are getting is that he is very unlikely to play again.
“At 28, that’s tough and he has been good for us.
“But we are supporting him and looking for a pathway for him after football.
“We would like to keep him in the game and in the club.”
The Raiders are exploring their choices for wage cap aid for Harawira-Naera, who’s contracted till the top of 2026.
WIGHTON SENDS SCARE THROUGH SOUTHS
South Sydney’s star recruit Jack Wighton despatched a scare via his new membership after reportedly happening at coaching on Tuesday.
Wighton was working when he hit the deck with what membership officers initially feared was a knee drawback however was later identified as a calf problem.
The 30-year-old will now relaxation over Christmas earlier than becoming a member of the membership’s rehab group when gamers return from the break on January 9, in line with The Daily Telegraph.
Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou informed the masthead he was optimistic Wighton may very well be working freely once more by mid-January.
“They didn’t want Jack putting pressure on it when he walked off so they helped him off the field to make sure he didn’t put too much weight on it,” Demetriou mentioned.
“Once they got him inside, it wasn’t as bad as first thought. It’s not a knee injury, it’s a calf injury.
“Jack went to push off and tweaked his calf. The physios are confident it’s not too bad.
“We’ve only got one more day of training (this year) and we hope he will be running probably around the 9th of January when we start back.
“He will be rehab running by then and by mid-January he will be training with the team, I’d say.
“We have two weeks off.”
ARTHUR CHALLENGES BROWN
Eels coach Brad Arthur is anticipating star five-eighth Dylan Brown to bounce again in an enormous means in 2024 and repay the religion the membership has proven in him.
Brown’s 2023 marketing campaign was shrouded in controversy with the playmaker suspended for seven video games after pleading responsible to 2 counts of sexual contact with out consent at a licensed venue in Double Bay.
Speaking to the SMH, Arthur is assured Brown “will have a big year” for the Eels subsequent season.
“Before Dylan was rubbed out last season, he was one of the best players in the competition. Then look what he did in that last Test for the Kiwis [in November],” Arthur mentioned.
“We just need Dylan to play like that all the time. When you’re getting paid the sort of money he is, we need him in the team every week.
“Dylan is 23 now, and he hasn’t really lived up to his potential yet.
“If you talk about X-factor, Dylan has that, he brings that to our side. It’s what he does for us defensively as well. He’s so important to this team, and he needs to understand that. We’ve had some good conversations about it.
“He wants to repay his teammates for what happened last season, he wants to repay the fans and repay his family. He’ll be very good for us next year.”
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2023 was a disappointing season in additional methods than one for the Eels, who missed the highest eight a 12 months after making the grand ultimate.
Arthur admitted Brown’s suspension didn’t assist, though it didn’t make or break the season.
“There’s never one incident you can blame for a whole season, but that did put a real dampener on things,” Arthur mentioned.
STORM-KNIGHTS IN HISTORIC FIRST
The Storm will play the Knights in Fiji within the pre-season in what marks the primary NRL-sanctioned rugby league match within the nation.
The match can be performed on February 24 at Churchill Park, Lautoka, and can be Melbourne’s second trial in preparation for the 2024 season.
Fiji captain and Storm star Tui Kamikamica flew to Fiji with membership chief govt Justin Rodski to announce the historic match.
“We are very excited about bringing the first ever NRL match to Fiji,” Rodski mentioned.
“We already have a lot of Fijian talent within our game, and this serves as an incredible opportunity to not only grow the sport we love but help develop the next wave of talent and hopefully give more young men and women the chance to play NRL or NRLW.”
Storm will spend the week main into the match in Fiji to attach with the native Fijian neighborhood, partaking with faculties and native rugby league golf equipment.
Storm may even put on a specifically designed coaching t-shirt throughout the week and the match ball will carry conventional Fiji paintings to recognise the importance of the match.
WOODS SLAMS CRITICS
Sea Eagles veteran Aaron Woods has informed the Las Vegas critics to “pull your heads in” and praised the NRL for having “the balls” to try launching the sport abroad.
Woods has been in Las Vegas for the previous week to advertise the NRL’s double-header season opener alongside Spencer Leniu (Roosters), Campbell Graham (Rabbitohs) and Billy Walters (Broncos).
The quartet have been attending NFL and NBA video games, strolling the glitter strip in full enjoying package and posing for pictures with followers whereas explaining what sport they play.
There’s already been 20,000 tickets offered to the video games at Allegiant Stadium subsequent March, however there have been loads of critics on social media.
The followers criticising the audacious play from the NRL argue the cash may very well be higher spent, however Woods didn’t mince his phrases in response.
“There are so many people at home going, ‘Why are they doing that?’” Woods informed The SMH.
“Grow up. Get over it. We’re in Las Vegas, we’re trying to promote the game, we’re trying to grow it. Pull your heads in and get behind us.”
However, even the previous Kangaroos and Blues prop admits he had his doubts when the idea was born.
“When it was first announced, I thought, ‘It sounds good – but is this really going to happen?’” Woods mentioned.
“They’ve grown some balls, and they’ve come through with it. Look where we are now. They’ve delivered.”
RABBITOHS FLYER ON THE MEND
Rabbitohs star Campbell Graham has revealed he wanted a painkilling needle each week to get via final season.
Graham underwent shoulder surgical procedure after the season after which a bone infusion on his sternum final month.
It means the gun centre received’t be doing any contact coaching till January and is not any assure to play in Round 1.
That may very well be an issue for the NRL who’ve been utilizing pictures of Graham to advertise their Las Vegas double-header to open the 2024 season.
Souths will play Manly earlier than the Roosters face the Broncos at Allegiant Stadium on March 3 (AEDT).
Graham is hopeful of enjoying within the groundbreaking conflict and revealed simply how unhealthy his sternum damage acquired this 12 months.
“I had to needle it to play every week last year bar round one,” he mentioned.
“That was prohibiting it from healing as well. That’s the nature of the sport we play.”
GUS TIPS YOUNG GUN FOR BREAKOUT SEASON
Bulldogs General Manager of Football Phil Gould has earmarked 22-year-old ahead Samuel Hughes as a possible breakout star for the membership in 2024.
It’s price noting Gould’s opinion on the problem contemplating he was useless on the mark final 12 months when naming Jacob Preston because the Bulldogs’ younger gun to observe final season.
Preston didn’t simply vindicate Gould’s lofty expectations, he smashed them.
Not solely did the tough-as-teak again rower win the membership’s rookie of the 12 months award however cleaned the pool by accumulating the Dr George Peponis Medal as Bulldogs participant of the 12 months and the member’s participant of the 12 months as properly.
While Gould didn’t say Hughes would attain the identical heights as Preston in 2024, it’s fairly the rap from the astute soccer thoughts on the 22-year-old.
Responding to a query from a fan on social media web site X asking if there’s any bolters impressing at pre-season coaching, Gould answered “Sam Hughes…”
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Hughes appeared in 5 video games for the Bulldogs final season, making his NRL debut in Round 6 in opposition to the Rabbitohs.
He got here off the bench in 4 of these, and began one sport at lock ahead.
With the Bulldogs dropping Luke Thompson, Franklin Pele and Tevita Pangai Junior from their ahead shares, Hughes can be persistently difficult for a primary grade spot sooner reasonably than later.