NRL players praised for quick thinking after 'scary' Corey Harawira-Naera incident

The Canberra Raiders backrower collapsed in a seizure shortly after what looked to be an innocuous hit-up against the Rabbitohs.

Corey Harawira-Naera is seen being attended to by doctors on the left, and running the ball against South Sydney on the right.
Corey Harawira-Naera was taken from the field and straight to hospital after the Canberra Raiders backrower suffered a seizure on the field against South Sydney. Pictures: Getty Images

Both the Canberra Raiders and South Sydney have been praised for their quick thinking after a scary incident which saw Raiders backrower Corey Harawira-Naera collapse on the field with a seizure. Fans were left fearful for the 28-year-old, who had taken a regulation hit-up roughly 30 seconds before collapsing.

Doctors immediately rushed onto the field and play was halted, with players from both NRL teams forming a circle around Harawira-Narea while he received treatment in order to shield him from view. He was put onto the medicab and quickly transferred to hospital in an ambulance.

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The Raiders later provided an update, saying Harawira-Naera had suffered a seizure, but was conscious and speaking to doctors by the time he had left the ground. He is expected to be discharged from hospital and return to Canberra on Sunday.

After the scary incident, which happened with 14 minutes left to play in the match at Stadium Australia, the Raiders managed to hang on for an impressive 33-26 victory. They were leading 24-20 when Harawira-Narea was taken from the field, before holding off a late charge from the Rabbitohs to secure a crucial win.

The four points were far from the top priority for Raiders coach Ricky Stuart. He had come down from the coaches box to the sideline when Harawira-Naera was taken to hospital, and praised medical staff for their work when interviewed by Fox Sports after the match.

“It was awful. I just spoke to the doctors then, he said he had a seizure and they’re unsure as regards to why,” Stuart said. "There doesn’t seem to have been any contact to the head.

"So they’re at a bit of loss as to why it’s occurred. He’s off to hospital now. Our prayers and thoughts are with him.

“His family can understand he’s in the best care. The medical people have done a wonderful job now and in hospital he’s in good hands.”

Commentators praised players from both sides for their quick decision to shield Harawira-Naera from cameras as he was being treated. Raiders star Josh Papali'i described it was 'one of the scariest things I’ve seen on a footy field'.

“My heart goes out to Corey, I really hope he’s okay and doing well," he said. “The state he was in, our players and Souths players got around him. (We) just didn’t want the camera on him at the time.”

Meanwhile, fans on social media were also pulling for Harawira-Naera to make a quick recovery. While a full update on his condition is yet to materialise, fans were relieved to hear that he was speaking to doctors soon after leaving the ground.

Raiders expect Corey Harawira-Naera to leave hospital quickly

Harawira-Naera travelled to Westmead Hospital with his sister, who had been a spectator at the game. Just after 11pm on Saturday night, the Raiders provided an update on his condition.

"He's improving and feeling better and will hopefully be discharged from hospital and return home to Canberra tomorrow," a statement posted to social media read. "We will provide further updates early in the week.

"Thanks everyone for your concern and thoughts tonight, it's much appreciated."

Raiders and Rabbitohs players are pictured congregating around Corey Harawira-Naera in order to give him privacy.
Raiders and Rabbitohs players were praised for forming a circle around Corey Harawira-Naera while he was being treated on the field of play. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

No player harboured more concern for Harawira-Naera on Saturday night than Albert Hopoate, who roomed with the second-rower for three years. The pair are still close mates, FaceTiming or catching up most days, and the Raiders winger was visibly distressed when Harawira-Naera went down.

"Obviously it was pretty scary at the time," Hopoate told AAP. "You don't expect anything like that to happen, especially in a game. There aren't many words."

Canberra captain Jarrod Croker abandoned all thoughts of the contest as his teammate lay on the ground.

"For that whole period, I don't think anyone was thinking about football, to be honest," he said."Everyone was just looking out for Corey and doing whatever we could."

With AAP

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