10 May 2023

What's changed to make Corey Horsburgh an Origin contender?

| Tim Gavel
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Rugby League player

There’s not much chance Corey Horsburgh will be loaned in 2023. Photo: Liv Cameron.

When Corey Horsburgh ran onto the field a couple of years ago, there was a sense of anxiety among the Raiders faithful.

What crazy element would Corey bring to the game? Despite this, he gained a following with fans because of some signs of aptitude.

In between the ill discipline, there was promise. That promise has only really been fully realised this season.

In 2023, he is a totally different player.

The niggle is still there, as we saw in the confrontation with Sharks player Royce Hunt a few weeks ago at Canberra Stadium.

But there is a level of maturity that hasn’t been evident until now.

In 2020, Horsburgh with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (now playing for the Warriors). Photo: Supplied.

At the start of the season, I suggested the club was missing an Isaah Yeo-style player who could take on a ball-playing role in the middle.

Horsburgh has become that player for the Raiders.

The stats from last Friday night’s game speak for themselves.

According to the Zero Tackle site, Horsburgh ran for 180 metres, had 76 post-contact metres and four tackle breaks.

He played the game of his life at the ground he loves the most, Lang Park.

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It’s been a journey getting to this point. It’s been bumpy, to say the least.

In 2021 Corey Horsburgh was loaned by the Raiders to the Bulldogs for two weeks to fill a gap created by injury and suspension. Loaning Horsburgh to a rival team was understandable, but such is his importance to the Green Machine today, I doubt Ricky Stuart would loan him to any rival club any time in the future.

Raiders celebrating after a win

Raiders fans celebrating the win over the Broncos on 9 April 2023. Photo: Raiders.

After a breakout year in 2019 when he played 22 NRL games, including coming off the bench in the grand final, he played only six games in an injury-riddled season the following year.

It wasn’t that much better in 2021, with eight games for the Raiders, all off the bench, and two for the Bulldogs while on loan.

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In 2022, he played 22 games, most off the interchange. This season he started off the bench in the first five games and has started at lock in the past four.

Incidentally, the Raiders have won the past four with Horsburgh.

If Horsburgh can maintain his current form, there’s no reason he won’t be wearing an Origin jumper, which would have been an extreme long shot a couple of years ago.

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