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Rookie Raiders forward Corey Horsburgh.

Rick Horsburgh has happily pulled 28-hour round trips this year to catch most every moment of his son's debut NRL season.

And it's a blunt two-minute missive from one of rugby league's most experienced talent scouts that could lead to it finishing with a fairytale premiership.

Corey Horsburgh will have parents Rick and Sandy, and "20-odd" family and friends in the ANZ Stadium stands on Sunday as he comes off Canberra's bench.

Rick, with his larger-than-life moustache and louder-than-hell Raiders-themed party shirt, has been there for most every match along the way in 2019.

The Woodford prison guard often loads a mattress into the back of the family car for the 14-hour drive from Caboolture, north of Brisbane, to GIO Stadium, where his youngest son is fast becoming a crowd favourite.

"Dad hasn't missed many games at all this year, he's my No.1 supporter and he loves it all," Horsburgh tells

"Whatever's the cheaper option. If it's expensive to fly he'll drive and if the petrol adds up he'll catch a bus. Whatever it takes he gets there.

"It's 13 or 14 hours, if you beat the traffic you can do it in 12.

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Footy and family 😍❤️

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"I reckon he wears that shirt the whole way, he calls it the lucky shirt. He probably sleeps in it."

Horsburgh himself arrived in the nation's capital less than two years ago after renowned Raiders recruitment officer Peter Mulholland called with interest, and an ultimatum.

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart would be down the line soon too, provided Horsburgh – who at that point was about to be cut loose by the Cowboys – was willing to get serious about his footy.

"Pete said when he called 'if you want to make it in first grade, you've got to pull your finger out'," Horsburgh says.

"I had two years at the Cowboys when I was 17 and 18, but they didn't want me after that and it was fair enough.

"I was just drinking too much. Partying instead of focusing on my footy. It's stuff I regret now, but that's life I guess.

"I drank once when the team was on a drinking ban and then I got the sooks when I copped a punishment for that.

"I took it the wrong way and went out and did it the next week again.

"It was a stupid mistake I made, just taking that the wrong way instead of copping it sweet.

"I haven't done that since so hopefully I've learnt from that."

Horsburgh's rapid progress from Mounties to 21 games off the Raiders bench – for 99 metres and 23 tackles a game – suggest he has.

Those with long memories north of the border reckon the redhead's "kitchen-sink-and-then-some" approach to the game is the same as Rick in his heyday.

A renowned kickboxer and rugby league enforcer with Stanley Rivers and Caboolture, he now earns a crust as a guard at Woodford Correctional Centre – Queensland's largest and meanest jail.

"Dad works at Woodford prison – which is high security - he's done that for over 10 years now," Horsburgh says.

"He walks around, makes sure they're all behaving themselves I guess.

Roosters v Raiders - Grand FInal

"He's in the [riot] squad too so if they're playing up he comes in with the big shields and all the gear.

"He's got that low centre of gravity, I reckon that helps him when that's on.

"He doesn't like to talk about that though, I haven't really asked him.

"But I'd say he'd have a few war stories.

"He's a big softie though, he's a good dad and a good fella."

Tickets for the NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final 2019 are now on sale to the general public.

Tickets are available through Ticketek and

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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