‘A great team performance’: Why this picture has the NRL talking and a coach saying it’s the most ‘remarkable’ thing he has seen in his career
- Photo of Tom Starling sitting alone on a bench captured Raiders heartbreak
- Raiders took on Warriors before losing 34-31 at Canberra on Saturday afternoon
- Three players suffered injuries within minutes of starting the intense match
- Starling was photographed as the only player left available on the sidelines
A photo of an NRL player sitting alone on a bench during a match has captured the heartbreak of his team after it lost three of its players in minutes.
Raiders hooker Tom Starling was photographed sitting next to nine empty chairs during his team’s 34-31 loss to the Warriors in Canberra on Saturday.
Starling would normally have been seated next to at least three other players waiting to be called onto the field.
He was forced to sit alone because of a horrific string of injuries suffered by his team during the opening minutes of the match.
A photo of NRL player Tom Starling sitting alone on a bench during a match has moved the sports community
Coach Ricky Stuart later told a post-match conference: ‘In all my years of coaching … I’ve never been involved in a greater team performance’
Teammate Joseph Tapine hobbled off the field after sustaining an ankle injury just minutes into the game.
The worst was yet to come when Raiders forwards Ryan James and Sebastian Kris clashed head on little more than 10 minutes later.
James and Kris had both gone in for the tackle but made contact with each other instead.
The pair dropped to the ground and the referee was forced to pause the match.
Trainers rushed onto the field as the pair lay motionless on top of each other.
At one point a visibly injured Kris attempted to crawl forward while he was being treated.
The pair were escorted off the field and given head injury assessments before they were told they could not finish the match.
Despite the shocking scale of injuries the Raiders managed to blow past the Warriors on the scoreboard with a 25-6 lead by halftime
Though the Warriors managed to pull off a massive comeback and clinch victory within the final minutes of the game
Despite the shocking scale of injuries, the Raiders managed to blow past the Warriors on the scoreboard with a 25-6 lead by halftime.
But the Warriors managed to pull off a massive comeback and clinch victory within the final minutes of the game.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart later told a post-match conference: ‘In all my years of coaching… I’ve never been involved in a greater team performance.
‘We only had one player left on the interchange bench, I’ve never see a group of individuals who are down to 14 play so well, but yet, play with such adversity and play for each other.’