NRL Briefs: Raiders react to teammate’s blow-up; Clarity on Storm’s changeroom address; Maguire doesn’t want Benji going anywhere

Canberra Raiders players have leapt to the defence of passionate forward Corey Horsburgh, whose fiery departure during their golden-point loss to Parramatta could be his last NRL act for months.

A teary Horsburgh flipped both his middle fingers up to the crowd at Bankwest Stadium as he limped off late in the first half of their 25-24 loss, having suffered a foot injury in a legal tackle instigated by Ryan Matterson.

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The 22-year-old immediately confronted Matterson, instigating a standoff before emotion boiled over as he let the small numbers booing in the grandstand know what he thought.

Raiders halfback George Williams believed Horsburgh’s emotional reaction was due to the injury, which could prove to be serious.

“I thought he was playing really well, I know he loves to play tough in the middle there. He got a bit emotional but I think it was more the injury more than anything and I hope he’s well,” Williams said. “He’s a young kid and a great prospect.”

Fox League sideline commentator Steve Roach said Horsburgh “was in tears as he was coming past here with the trainer”.

The second-season lock may require surgery after suffering a suspected lisfranc (mid-foot) fracture. The rehabilitation time could stretch more than three months.

Veteran Raiders prop Sia Soliola backed his teammate’s enthusiasm but said the incident would ultimately be a good lesson in how to best harness his energy, suggesting the Eels pack had picked him out as a target for physicality.

Pulling middle fingers at the crowd wasn’t the ideal reaction, said Soliola, who contacted Horsburgh on Sunday to offer support.

“He really understood the consequence of his actions, even though it was highlighted over the weekend,” Soliola said.

“It’s probably a good thing that he sees it himself. It might be a bit of a turning stone for him.”

He said the former Caboolture junior could yet play a key part in their 2020 campaign.

“I feel for him. He’s worked hard to get to where he is,” Soliola said. “He’ll bounce back, he’s a strong kid. He’s a fiery ball of energy, isn’t he? And it showed at the weekend.”

Corey Horsburgh wasn’t feeling the love from Eels fans.Source:Twitter

GALLEN WEIGHS IN ON STORM’S CHANGEROOM ADDRESS

Former Cronulla captain Paul Gallen has rejected criticism of Cameron Smith after the Melbourne great thanked the Warriors in their changeroom after Friday’s match.

The Storm thumped the Warriors 50-6 as the New Zealand team failed to fire in its first game after coach Stephen Kearney was sacked.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Co. were downbeat after the match but Smith, Storm assistant coach Ryan Hoffman and head coach Craig Bellamy thanked them for relocating to Australia to ensure the NRL season could continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It was tough. We wanted to go in there and I suppose say our appreciation and our admiration for what they’ve been doing,” Hoffman said on the Sunday Footy Show.

“It was very hard to not sound condescending or feel patronising to them, because I’m sure they don’t want sympathy.

“I just wanted to let them know the admiration that I have for Roger and the team and what they’re doing.”

Gallen said anyone taking issue with Smith didn’t have a leg to stand on.

“I heard Ryan Hoffman talk about it … and he addressed it — they were really concerned that it was going to look condescending or patronising to the Warriors,” Gallen said on Wide World of Sports’ The Final Whistle.

“I’m really glad that he addressed that because when you first see that vision, I think a lot of people can understand why you’d think that. How would (caretaker coach) Todd Payten feel if the opposition coach and captain came in?

“The social media stuff’s just tall poppy syndrome against Cam Smith. I wouldn’t be too worried about that and I doubt Cameron Smith would be worried either.

“I’m glad the Melbourne Storm addressed it and after hearing that and the reason they went in there, I think it was pretty good by the Melbourne Storm.”

Cameron Smith wanted to thank the Warriors for their sacrifices.Source:FOX SPORTS

MAGUIRE: BENJI ISN’T GOING ANYWHERE

Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire isn’t keen on letting Benji Marshall play elsewhere this year after reports emerged today the out-of-favour playmaker is being shopped to rival clubs.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Marshall’s manager is testing the waters to see if clubs like Manly, Melbourne and North Queensland would be interested in securing the veteran’s services for the rest of the year.

Maguire dropped Marshall after round four despite the five-eighth sitting equal second on the Dally M leaderboard and being crowned man of the match in the Tigers’ opening two wins.

Josh Reynolds has performed strongly since being promoted to partner No. 7 Luke Brooks in the halves at Marshall’s expense but that doesn’t mean Maguire is OK with the 35-year-old seeking playing time elsewhere.

“None whatsoever,” Maguire said, according to NRL.com, when asked if Marshall had suggested he wanted to leave the joint-venture club, where he won a premiership in 2005.

“We talk a lot about where the club is going and he is very much a part of that. He is a leader and an experienced player who can have a massive influence on or off the field.

“I have picked on performance — that is purely what we are doing — and to have depth is what’s required to be able to get from the start to the finish.

“Benji is very much part of our plans. To have the quality of what we have ready to go when the time is right is what you are trying to build all the time.”

Benji Marshall has been relegated to the sideline.Source:AAP

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