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Raiders Rookie sheds light on explosive incident

Canberra Raiders rookie Bailey Simonsson has opened up on the explosive incident which enabled him to star in the Green Machine’s win in Week One of the NRL Finals.

Before the match started, Raiders star centre Joey Leilua was forced off the field after a stray firework hit him in the eye forcing Simonsson to come from the bench and start on the Wing.

Simonsson, who today re-signed with the Raiders until the end of 2023, told Halftime with James Willis that he was caught off guard when Coach Ricky Stuart asked him to replace Leilua.

“Yeah I’ve been asked a few times and I don’t even know how to explain it to be honest. It’s like you said, the boys just went to run out and somehow a firework has gone off and hit Joey in the eye and he’s had to go off,” Simonsson said.

“Next thing I know I’ve gone from the bench to starting and then I was lucky enough to come away with a try which was a good confidence boost for the rest of the night.”

After making his debut in Round 1 this year, Simonsson has gone on to play 19 games, scoring in 8 of them.

Used as a plug throughout the back-line this year, the Raiders young gun says his best position is Fullback, but is happy to play anywhere for the team.

“I’ve grown up playing fullback and played it this year with Mounties so long-term I’d love end up at Fullback. But I love playing on the wing and I just love being on the field so I’m not too fussed with where I play,” he said.

“I’m just glad to be a part of the team and whatever I need to do to help contribute to the team I’ll look to do that.”