Easter Sunday look destined to end in heartbreak for Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.
His right knee bent the wrong way as Brisbane Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford collided with it shoulder-first in the dying minute of the first half. As he lay on his back writhing in pain, the 17,193 Raiders fans were left fearing the worst as the stretcher was driven out.
Even the 23-year-old was unsure whether he would be able to get back to his feet, but just like an Easter resurrection, he got back up and played the rest of the game, finishing with 199 run metres, more than any other player on the park.
He is now focussed on being fit to play for the Raiders as they hunt top spot on the table against Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval on Sunday (28 April). After receiving scans on Tuesday morning (23 April), he was cleared of any knee injury and was named at fullback.
“The knee is actually pretty good,” he shared. “I iced it as best as I could over the last couple of days and will continue to do so for the coming days and I’ll be doing everything I can to give myself the best opportunity for the weekend.
“I got scans today for peace of mind. Clinically, we tested it and it feels fine and there is nothing structural so it’s about how much soreness I can run with.
“It’s getting better each and every day and I’m feeling a lot more confident after doing squats and lunges today. I was quite surprised that I was able to do that.
“I have got a light run tomorrow with the boys and we will asses it over the next couple of days.”
The grit and determination to get back to his feet and play the match out is a testament to the fullback’s resolve. It is that same resolve that saw him take his opportunity with the Raiders with both hands.
“You have got to have belief in yourself,” he shared. “There were a few times last season where I doubted whether I wanted to play rugby league.
“You can get down being in that position but you have to bounce back and surround yourself with people who are supportive and give you that belief and that is what I did. I am really thankful for those people.
“In 10 to 20 years time, I want my kids to take an opportunity or a dream they might have, not give up on it and give it their best. I can’t be preaching to them to follow their dreams if I gave up on mine.”
NRL Round Seven
Manly Sea Eagles vs Canberra Raiders
Sunday 2 pm
Raiders Squad: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Jarrod Croker (C), 4. Joey Leilua, 5. Jordan Rapana , 6. Jack Wighton, 7. Sam Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Josh Hodgson (C), 10. Dunamis Lui, 11. John Bateman, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Ryan Sutton. Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili, 15. Emre Guler, 16. Sia Soliola, 17. Jack Murchie. Reserves: 18. Aidan Sezer, 19. Bailey Simonsson, 20. JJ Collins, 21. Hudson Young