NRL News: Harawira-Naera hopes defibrillator can save career, PVL floats tax-free idea to help PNG bid

Raiders forward Corey Harawira-Naera is hoping a defibrillator strapped to his arm could pave the way for a return to the NRL.

The 28-year-old suffered a shocking on-field seizure last season and has not played since but after being fitted with a small defibrillator on his upper arm at training he has been able to increase his workload.

It appears unlikely he will get back to NRL level this season but the former Kiwi international is hopeful that he can get his career back on track.

He is under contract until the end of next year with an option in his favour for the following season reportedly worth around $700 annually.

The devise monitors the Canberra second-rower’s heart rate and is designed to give him a shock if the beats per minute reach a certain range.

English footballer Tom Lockyer is attempting to get back to the Premier League with a similar device monitoring his heart rate after he suffered a mid-game cardiac arrest while playing for Luton Town in December.

Corey Harawira-Naera. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Shortly after taking a hit-up in the second half of a clash with Souths last May, Harawira-Naera appeared to become disoriented and fell to the turf.

The match stopped for over 10 minutes as medical staff rushed onto the field and attended to the New Zealand international, who had begun convulsing.

Harawira-Naera was conscious and responsive by the time he was transported from the field in a medicab amid a standing ovation from the crowd.

PVL to ask government for tax-free deal

With doubts growing over the viability of the Papua New Guinea expansion bid, ARL Commission chair Peter V’landys is claiming he will seek tax-free exemption for any player who joins a start-up team in the country.

The QRL is set to move PNG Hunters matches in the early rounds of the Queensland Cup to Australia from Port Moresby after at least 26 men were killed in civil unrest last week which prompted Prime Minister James Marape handing arrest powers to the military.

QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher told AAP player safety would be “paramount” in the decision-making process.

Players not required for NRL duty often turn out for Cup sides.

“We are doing a fair bit of work with all of our connections on the ground in PNG, because player safety is absolutely paramount,” Hatcher told AAP. “We are also getting independent advice.

“We have to be absolutely responsible and make sure any danger is minimal. We won’t be going there if the risk is greater than normal.

“Rugby league is their national sport, but the reality is that there are risks in playing there.

“We will make a final decision later this week based on the advice we get from the security organisations we deal with up there and the Australian High Commission.”

The bloodshed casts further doubt on the viability of a PNG team becoming the NRL’s 18th team in the next couple of years despite the federal government pledging to bankroll the bid.

V’landys told NewsCorp that he would lobby Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government to see if tax exemptions could be offered to players who sign up for a potential new PNG franchise.

“One of the areas I will be approaching the government on is in order to make it attractive to go over there, we are going to ask the government that people be given tax-free status,” V’landys claimed.

“If you’re going to go over there and work, to encourage you to go to Papua New Guinea, you should earn that money tax-free.

“Hopefully, that will encourage our retired players, our officials, our coaches if our government allows us to have a tax free, or lower tax rate to encourage them to go to PNG, that will make the initiative much more successful.”

with AAP

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