Canberra Raiders pay their respects to Christchurch


Born in Wellington, the 24-year-old is one of a number of Raiders with ties to New Zealand.

They held a minute’s silence before the Titans game, when they reflected on what had happened.

“We were pretty devastated. It came as a shock. The first thing I saw jumping off the plane, I went on my phone and I saw all that. It was just unreal,” Tapine said.

“You don’t think it will happen somewhere like back home in NZ. It’s horrifying. I had it on my wristband on the weekend just to make sure I pay my respects to those who tragically lost their lives.

“They had the earthquakes a couple of years ago and then this. It’s like they can’t catch a break so hopefully their future [is brighter] because it’s been a hard couple of years for them.”

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Croker said the club would provide any support his Kiwi teammates needed.

“It all happened very quickly. It happened when we were flying and on the aeroplane,” he said.

“We got together for the minute’s silence and paid our respects. It’s a horrible thing and it’s not something that you want to see at all. Ever.

“If there’s anything we can do we will. The Kiwi boys know that they’ve got so much family and friends here, those guys know that anything we can do we’re here for them.”

Along with Tapine, Jordan Rapana, Sia Soliola, Siliva Havili, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Bailey Simonsson, Ata Hingano and Brad Abbey all have ties with New Zealand.

Simonsson, who scored a try in his NRL debut, came to the Raiders from the All Blacks Sevens program and his father Paul played for New Zealand.

“I’ve got quite a few close mates from Christchurch so hearing the news over there was tragic and quite heartbreaking,” he said.

“New Zealanders are very strong people, and a close-knit community over there in Christchurch. I’m sure they will overcome it and move forward as a group.”

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From Auckland, Nicoll-Klokstad only signed with the Raiders last month and had his young family join him in Canberra this week.

He was shocked by what had happened.

“We just touched on it before he headed to the game, just when we were doing the moment of silence for them,” Nicoll-Klokstad said.

“Disturbing events. You wouldn’t expect stuff like that to happen in this world. I’m lost for words. It’s not a nice thing at all.”

NRL ROUND TWO

Friday: Canberra Raiders v Melbourne Storm, 6pm. Tickets from Ticketek.

Raiders squad: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Jarrod Croker (c), 4. Joey Leilua, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. Aidan Sezer, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Josh Hodgson (c), 10. Dunamis Lui, 11. Joe Tapine, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. John Bateman. Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili, 15. Ryan Sutton, 16. Sia Soliola, 17. Corey Horsburgh. Reserves: 18. Sam Williams, 19. JJ Collins, 20. Bailey Simonsson, 21. Jack Murchie.

Storm squad: 1. Jahrome Hughes, 2. Suliasi Vunivalu, 3. William Chambers, 4. Curtis Scott, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Brodie Croft, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Cameron Smith, 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Kenny Bromwich, 13. Dale Finucane. Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith, 15. Christian Welch, 16. Tui Kamikamika, 17. Pat Kaufusi. Reserves: 18. Marion Seve, 19. Albert Vete, 20. Ryan Papenhuyzen, 21. Billy Walters.

David Polkinghorne covers the Canberra Raiders, local rugby league, Canberra Cavalry, racing and cycling, along with every other sport, for The Canberra Times.

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