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Raiders forward Corey Harawira-Naera.

Corey Harawira-Naera knows his actions have spoken louder than words this year.

Embarrassed for his part in a sex scandal that derailed Canterbury's campaign just days before helping launch the 2020 season, Harawira-Naera is not looking for sympathy.

It's why when Harawira-Naera issued an apology to Bulldogs fans via social media last month after arriving in Canberra, he could understand people's reactions would differ.

Prior to that, he remained silent as his management appealed the NRL's de-registration both he and Jayden Okunbor were handed in April.

Training and working with Okunbor as a landscaper during his time away, Harawira-Naera knew a fresh start outside of Sydney was crucial regardless of the outcome.

"I was getting in a bit of trouble in Sydney and getting away from that was really important," Harawira-Naera told

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"My career has come crashing down pretty quickly and I'm not proud of it but everything happens for a reason. Some won't agree with me there but I needed this wake-up call.

"I'm glad I got caught out and have learned my lesson. I'm glad it happened earlier rather than later.

"A lot of people didn't agree with my apology and said it was scripted but I felt like I needed to say something but it's allowed for me to move on and focus on my footy.

"I've just got to grow up, I'm 25 now and have to focus on why I came over to Australia in the first place.

My career has come crashing down pretty quickly and I'm not proud of it but everything happens for a reason

Raiders forward Corey Harawira-Naera

"It wasn't for a holiday or to get in trouble and stuff it up for all my family who have done a lot to get me here."

Back home in New Zealand, his mother Trina, who works as a foster parent – was aware of the headlines surrounding her son but remained supportive.

Harawira-Naera arrived in the nation's capital last month knowing only a few teammates through his Maori and Kiwi connections at a representative level.

"I love it already, I can put my gumboots and trackies on, it's been fun," he said.

"The boys have been really welcoming. I spoke to them when I first got down here and they've been good and ask me if I need any help or advice with our attack or defensive structures.

"I think the Raiders also play a style of footy that will really suit me. I feel like that's going to be the best thing for me in the long run. Down here you can just focus on footy.

"It's a pretty good team to come into and hopefully I can really get in and amongst it and get to the finals."

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Harawira-Naera won't line up against the Bulldogs in round 16 as part of the terms of his release.

He's expecting to "get flogged" by Raiders performance staff as a result in a bid to ramp up his fitness levels after averaging just 30 minutes per game since returning in round 12.

"I'm a bit gutted I won't be able to have a game against the Bulldogs boys because they helped me through all the stuff," he said.

"But I'll be at the game and it will be good to see them. I've stayed in contact with a lot of them and they've been going alright. Baz [incoming coach Trent Barrett] is going to be great for them next year."

Acknowledgement of Country

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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