Canberra’s casualty ward has picked up another high-profile patient, with Charze Nicholl-Klokstad suffering a sickening finger injury in the Raiders’ 18-12 NRL win over South Sydney.
The Raiders’ fullback picked up a suspected compounded dislocation of the little finger on his left hand in Canberra’s win on Saturday night, which moved them to fifth on the ladder.
He was one of two Raiders fullbacks to finish the game off the field, with Jordan Rapana also forced off due to a late head clash after moving back to deputise at No.1.
Nicholl-Klokstad is expected to be out for at least a fortnight, becoming the eighth player from their first-choice 17 in Canberra’s casualty ward.
But just as they did last week against the Sydney Roosters, the Raiders proved they didn’t care for those who questioned their title credentials with a mounting injury toll.
In wet conditions, they scored eight-unanswered second-half points to overcome a 12-10 deficit at the break for their second-straight win.
Fijian winger Semi Valemei scored the match winner with his maiden NRL try in just his second match, after Jarrod Croker had earlier kicked the Raiders level via a penalty goal.
Valemei was the beneficiary of an Elliott Whitehead kick out of dummy-half in the 57th minute which rebounded off Campbell Graham’s boot and into the winger’s hands.
The Raiders had earlier started the faster of the two teams, with Nick Cotric getting the game’s first try off a Jack Wighton bomb which Rapana batted back.
Canberra had a 10-0 lead when Adam Reynolds dropped a Wighton kick which looked likely to go dead and Croker was there to scoop it up and capitalise.
Wighton was again great for the Raiders at five-eighth, while Josh Papalii and Dunamis Lui were powerful up front.
The Rabbitohs were gutsy to rebound before making too many errors late in the match to mount a second fightback.
They lost Alex Johnston early to a concussion, forcing Jack Johns to play 53 minutes on debut.
Dane Gagai nabbed a try in the first half, before Reynolds helped them to a 12-10 lead after back-to-back set restarts and a Jaydn Su’A offload.
Tom Burgess was impressive in the middle with 176 metres, but also battled a shoulder injury late.
Canberra could at least welcome back Corey Harawira-Naera for Saturday night’s trip to Townsville to face North Queensland.
The discarded Canterbury second-rower was at at GIO Stadium on Saturday night, awaiting NRL approval to join the club’s bubble after signing a two-and-a-half year deal.