Canberra will be without Sebastian Kris for their finals campaign after the utility back received a five-game suspension for a dangerous spear tackle on Sione Katoa during their 24-6 loss to the Sharks. Kris was sent off in the 60th minute of the match at PointsBet Stadium. Raiders captain Elliott Whitehead acknowledged in his post-game press conference that Kris deserved to be sent off for the tackle, although coach Ricky Stuart claimed he hadn’t seen the incident. Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon defended Kris, stating that it was an accident and that he didn’t mean to drive Katoa’s head into the ground.
Seb Kris’s tackle has ignited a debate among rugby league pundits. Matty Johns explained on Fox Sports that while the tackle looks bad, it is a common occurrence in the game and was not deliberate. Nathan Hindmarsh echoed this sentiment, stating that Kris had attempted to pull out of the tackle but was just a little too late. However, rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns described the tackle as “awful” and “dangerous.”
This suspension compounds the injury and suspension woes for the Canberra team heading into their elimination final against North Queensland on Sunday. Kris joins Josh Papali’i, who is recovering from a bicep injury, and Corey Horsburgh, who is serving a suspension, on the sidelines. However, Kris would be available for a theoretical Grand Final if the team progresses that far.
Sebastian Kris has been a key player for the Raiders this season, primarily playing fullback before switching to the wing due to the strong form of Jordan Rapana. With Kris out, Albert Hopoate, who has recovered from a recent rib injury, is the likely replacement on the wing. Hopoate has played 20 NRL games this season, making him a valuable option for coach Ricky Stuart. Alternatively, James Schiller, who scored a double in his last NSW Cup outing, or the exciting young talent Xavier Savage could be considered for the role.
Despite the loss of Kris, the Raiders remain focused and determined heading into the finals. They will have to rely on their depth and the remaining players to step up and fill the void left by the suspended and injured players. With their season on the line, the team is motivated to put on a strong performance and secure a victory against the Cowboys in the elimination final. The absence of Kris will undoubtedly be felt, but the Raiders are ready to face the challenge head-on and fight for their place in the finals.