Territory Stories

Sunday Territorian 6 Oct 2019



Sunday Territorian 6 Oct 2019


Sunday Territorian; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited

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Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited



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52 SPORT SUNDAY OCTOBER 6 2019 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Corey dodges bullet DAVID RICCIO IN the bowels of GIO Stadium, the Raiders dressing room is buzzing. Its 10.44pm Friday of last week and Canberra are through to their first grand final in 25 years. Aidan Sezer and Emre Guler are in charge of the Bluetooth speaker, which is blasting a diverse rotation of heavy Drake beats followed by Sam Hunts new-school country twang. Hunts tune is a request from Raiders defensive coach and proud bushie Brett White. The atmosphere is boisterous and excited. But at the far end of the room, a proud mother is sitting quietly. As she talks, Sandra Horsburgh begins pushing tears from her cheeks. Im sorry, I still find it hard to talk about, says the mother of Raiders firebrand and grand final rookie Corey Horsburgh. Because it happened around Easter, I dont like Easter very much. Its lucky then, because ANZ Stadium tonight will be feeling like Christmas for the Horsburgh family. Together, Sandra and Rick Horsburgh a prison guard for Woodford Correctional Centre in Queensland will stand when the Raiders appear out of the tunnel and without even wanting to, two loving parents will remember the day they almost lost their son. It will also be emotional for Coreys older sister Amy, who moved from the family home in Caboolture, at the base of the Sunshine Coast, to live with her brother and work in Canberra. When I got to the hospital, I was confronted by a social worker and a priest and they made me take photos with him, Sandra said through the stream of tears. Corey Horsburgh was 14 months old when he was placed in an induced coma after being diagnosed with Epiglottitis and influenza A. Epiglottitis is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the epiglottis a small cartilage lid that covers your windpipe swells, blocking the flow of air into your lungs. Hed been struggling for a while and he wasnt getting any better, Sandra said. We got him to the local (Caboolture) hospital and we were just lucky the day we went, the head of paediatrics was walking past and he heard that Corey was clicking when he breathed. And so the next minute it was like that scene from ER, with the whiteboards and doctors rushing here and there. He was put into an in duced coma and they were talking about airlifting him to Royal Brisbane Hospital, but a kid had been kicked by a horse so she had priority. Corey had to be transported the 45km by ambulance under police escort as the portable machine drip-feeding the medicine keeping him asleep had stopped working because the battery pack had died. But thats when the social worker and priest began talking to me, Sandra remembers. He was in ICU in Royal Brisbane for six days and every hour they (nurses) would have to go in and clear his lungs. He had to have two nurses on him the whole time. One was a resuscitation nurse because he had to have the breathing tube down the whole time and the other one would do observations. The little thing had two black eyes and they also gave him two plastered arms so he couldnt rip the tubes out. Whats hard to comprehend now is that the 188cm (6ft 2in) forward who will run head-on into the Roosters pack tonight was so affected by the illness that until the age of eight he would return to hospital once a month. And yet despite this, Horsburgh was so athletically gifted as a teenager, he knocked back repeated offers from AFLs Brisbane Lions, and played and competed in rugby union, cricket, league and cross-country. Mum and dad flew to Sydney yesterday ahead of the grand final, but an indication of Rick and Sandras pride in their son is how a week earlier they drove 15 hours from Caboolture to Canberra to watch the Raiders beat Souths in the preliminary final. It wouldve cost us $1200 to fly so I drove to save a bit of coin, said Rick, who was an amateur boxer in his younger days. We drove from Caboolture to Newcastle slept for three or four hours, woke up at 3am and got down here at 7.30 on the day of the game. Id do anything for the boy, were just so proud of him. Canberra forward Corey Horsburgh was just 14 months old when he was placed in an induced coma Picture: GETTY IMAGES DUNAMIS Lui thought his NRL career could be over and he was destined to return to Queensland as a mechanic three years ago. Instead Lui will come off the bench to join Canberras engine room in their grand final clash with the Sydney Roosters tonight, a decade after his first grade debut for Brisbane. Since his breakthrough sea son at the Broncos he has spent time at Manly and St George Illawarra, before finally finding a home as a bench forward at the Raiders in 2017. Its taken me a bit, Lui said. I have had a pretty long career and to finally make the grand final I was stoked (after beating South Sydney on Friday of last week). Coming to the Raiders I knew it was like a second chance for me. I was grateful. I just fell into the group of boys we have and everyone is pretty close. Luis stint in Canberra was almost a case of one that was never going to be. One year into a two-season deal at the Dragons in 2016, Lui found himself battling an achilles injury and struggling. When you are by yourself you have plenty of time to think. It probably wasnt good for me, Lui said. My manager did the best he could to get around me. When the time came for me to start looking elsewhere I actually thought maybe that was it. Id go back to Queensland Cup and just play footy there and work. At least I will be back home around my wife and daughters. Armed with a Cert III in automotive engineering and Cert IV in business, Lui had made plans for life after football. Another option was as a personal trainer, but either way it was a far cry from preparing for a stack of work through the middle in the premiership decider at ANZ Stadium. Secret pact set Raiders on GF track PETER BADEL Luis grateful to be in grand final after he repaired his rugby league career IT WAS the secret meeting on Queensland soil between Josh Papalii and Ricky Stuart that brokered peace and put the Raiders on the path to the NRL Grand Final. News Corp can reveal how a heart-to-heart between Papalii and Stuart to ease tensions over a contract spat helped the pair build an unbreakable bond ahead of tonights grand final against the Roosters at ANZ Stadium. Papalii will be Stuarts frontrow weapon to topple the Roosters tonight, but six years ago the pair were locked in drama after the Raiders enforcer sensationally reneged on a deal with Parramatta, where Stuart was coaching at the time. Papalii signed the contract before a Justice of the Peace and the Eels were so comfortable with the arrangement they even put out a press release on February 22, 2013 announcing the three-year deal. But within four months, the deal collapsed. Canberra great Mal Meninga, then Queensland coach, was summoned by the Raiders to help convince Papalii to stay at the Green Machine. The Meninga influence was pivotal, with Papalii backflipping on the Eels and inking a new deal with the Raiders, leaving Stuart a shattered man. But the saga had one final twist, with Stuart unexpectedly severing ties with the Eels in September just three months after Papalii agreed to stay in the nations capital. Suddenly, the pair would join forces after all, not at Parramatta, but in Canberra for the 2014 season. Brian Edwards, the Brisbane-based scout who first spotted Papalii at Logan Brothers and signed him to a Raiders scholarship as a 13year-old, revealed the meeting between Papalii and Stuart was a seminal moment in their player-coach relationship. Josh was pretty upset at the time about the reporting of why he didnt go through with the Parramatta deal, but Ricky spoke about his plans for Josh, they hit it off and away they went, Edwards said. Dunamis Lui

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