Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad’s likely final appearance for the Green Machine was an emotional affair, with the superstar in tears as he farewelled GIO Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Having battled injuries this season, he captained the Raiders’ NSW Cup side in their final match of the season, and put on a virtuosic performance.
The 27-year-old led the match with 162 running metres, set up the Raiders’ opening try with a delightful cut-out pass, then added two of his own, diving under the posts at the death to cap a perfect farewell to the Canberra faithful.
A visibly emotional Nicoll-Klokstad couldn’t hold back his tears after that late try, but made no mistake after being given the honour of converting the resulting kick, sealing a 24-12 win over the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles in the final round of the regular season.
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The Raiders finished sixth in the NSW Cup to miss out on the finals by a point, while Nicoll-Klokstad’s chances of one final farewell in the NRL side remain slim even if the Raiders do sneak into the finals.
After four years in the nation’s capital, the fullback will return to New Zealand and the Warriors next season.
The beloved fan favourite played a key role in the 2019 season – scoring 11 tries – as Canberra reached the Grand Final for the first time in 25 years.
Warmly embraced by teammates and opponents after the match, an emotional Nicoll-Klokstad spoke to Fox League’s Darcie McDonald.
He said: “It’s been an emotional week. Four good years here at this club. So grateful for all the memories that I’ve been able to share with these boys. So grateful for this club for the opportunity. And I’m so glad that I’ll forever be Raider #355.”
The fans gave him a rousing reception throughout the game, including a standing ovation upon his final try.
“I just want to thank you guys so much. Even after I signed to go back home, everyone has been so supportive. I just want to thank everyone – my family back home, my boys and my wife in the stands. It means so much.
“It’s been a rollercoaster two years so it’s good to be able to finish on a high and finish off with the future Canberra Raiders boys.”
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