Horsburgh the hero as Canberra withstands the battle of the sharks to get on the board for 2023
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Canberra overcame their growing injury crisis to claim a crucial early-season NRL win, beating Cronulla 24-20 in a nail biter at GIO Stadium.
The Raiders, who were missing star prop Josh Papali’i, Xavier Savage and wingers Nick Cotric and Jordan Rapana, lost hooker Danny Levi to a suspected fractured jaw just minutes into Sunday’s game but didn’t budge keep you from getting the thrilling victory.
They led 24-10 after 56 minutes but ended up fighting for their lives after the home side threatened to steal the points after two consecutive Cronulla attempts before Canberra’s defense could freeze the result.
It was the victory the Raiders sorely needed after tragically losing their opening two games of the year on their two-game tour of Queensland.
Their hero was Corey Horsburgh, the bench prop, who scored two tries while doubling his 63-game career tally with two devastating runs. Cronulla had minimal chance to stop.
In notable scenes, Horsburgh was beaten in backfield by Sharks enforcer Royce Hunt but got up and scored on the next play as the Raiders stamped their authority on the contest.
Hunt was trapped for the shot but Cronulla scored despite being a man down through Jesse Ramien, while they drew to a single tie with seven minutes to go when the Brit crossed Nikora from the second rower.
Without their Dally M-winning halfback Nicho Hynes (Wade), they benefited from a sharp offensive display from dynamic winger Ronaldo Mulitalo, who created the game’s opening try with magical footwork before scoring thanks to Will Kennedy’s delicate kick.
The Raiders hit back with a beautiful Jack Wighton cutout pass that allowed Albert Hopoate to score in the corner and were leading when Horsburgh crashed over him from close range.
Raider center Matt Timoko gave them some breathing room early in the second game with a typical busy try that broke tackles and rushed over the line to make it 18-10.
Bench hooker Tom Starling played almost 80 minutes after Levi’s early injury and put in a quality performance, finding two try assists and steering Canberra through the park with class.
Raiders star Joe Tapine hit a clearance of 158m while Siosifa Talakai led Cronulla with 150m.
The defeat leaves Cronulla 1-2, although they won’t panic, especially as Hynes is already expected back in next Sunday’s clash with New Zealand.
Substituting for Hynes, halfback Braydon Trindall continued to show his class with two try assists.
https://www.theroar.com.au/2023/03/19/horsburgh-the-hero-as-canberra-withstand-sharks-fightback-to-get-on-the-board-for-2023/ Horsburgh the hero as Canberra withstands the battle of the sharks to get on the board for 2023