Topic: Canberra Raiders 2014 Pre-Season Trial Matches and Auckland Nines  

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Canberra Raiders vs Melbourne Storm
Trial Match
Saturday 8th February 2014
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Time: 6:30pm
Tickets: Ticketek
Result: Raiders 20 - Storm 12
 

Auckland Nines
Nines Tournament
15th-16th February 2014
Eden Park, Auckland NZ
Broadcast: Sky/Fox Sports
Results:
Raiders 14 - Warriors 25
Raiders 0 - Cowboys 24
Raiders 18 - Manly 4
 

Canberra Raiders vs Newcastle Knights
Trial Match
Saturday 22nd February 2014
Wests Tamworth League Club, NSW
Time: 7:30pm
Tickets: Seat Advisor

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Re: Canberra Raiders 2014 Pre-Season Trial Matches and Auckland Nines
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2013, 03:02:59 PM »
The Canberra Raiders will take on the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park in a trial on February 8 at 5.30pm, after the Storm officially announced the game.

The match, which will be both club’s first trial match of the pre-season, in what is shaping up to be a great start to the 2014 season.

Tickets for the AAMI Park match will go on-sale late December. Raiders members will be notified once tickets go on sale.

The match will be the first of the club’s pre-season games, with the team then travelling to New Zealand the following week for the inaugural NRL Auckland Nines tournament.

The 16 clubs have been divided into four groups which will be held at Eden Park on February 15 and 16 with clubs competing for a prize pool exceeding $2 million.

The Raiders will play Manly, North Queensland and New Zealand in the preliminary stages of the tournament.

The Raiders will also play an official NRL trial match against the Newcastle Knights in Tamworth on Saturday February 22. Tickets for this match are not yet on sale.

Read more: http://www.raiders.com.au/news-display/Raiders-to-start-Official-NRL-Trials-against-Storm/88187

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Re: Canberra Raiders 2014 Pre-Season Trial Matches and Auckland Nines
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2014, 12:02:01 PM »
Jarrod Croker

The Canberra Raiders have named their squad for the inaugural NRL Nines led by first time captain Jarrod Croker.

Raiders NRL Nines squad:

Jarrod Croker

Reece Robinson

Mitch Cornish

Bill Tupou

Matt McIlwrick

Joel Edwards

Glen Buttriss

Tom Learoyd-Lahrs

Jarrad Kennedy

Mark Nicholls

Jake Foster

Lagi Setu

Mitch Cronin

Luke Bateman

Jack Ahearn

Andrew Heffernan

More: http://www.zerotackle.com/nrl/raiders-name-nines-squad-12004/?utm_source=rssandutm_medium=rssandutm_campaign=raiders-name-nines-squad

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Re: Canberra Raiders 2014 Pre-Season Trial Matches and Auckland Nines
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2014, 12:39:58 PM »
SQUAD LIST: Raiders name squad for trial against Storm



The Canberra Raiders have named a healthy 29 man squad for their first trial against the Melbourne Storm on Saturday February 8, with a mix of experience and youth to have the first chance to impress ahead of the 2014 season.

New recruit Lagi Setu will play his first match for his new club when he takes on his former team mates in Melbourne, while the Raiders will be anchored by the experience of established NRL stars Joel Edwards, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Josh McCrone, Reece Robinson, David Shillington, Dane Tilse and Jack Wighton.

The squad includes 13 uncapped NRL players including NYC players Luke Bateman, Andrew Heffernan, Brenko Lee, Patrick Mago and Tevita Pangai Junior, while a number of graduating 2013 NYC players including Mitch Cornish, Jack Ahearn, Jeremy Hawkins and Jeff Lynch will have their first chance to impress after their first full pre-season as NRL squad members.

Canberra Raiders v Melbourne Storm
Saturday February 8, 5.30pm, AAMI Park

Jack Ahearn
Matt Allwood
Luke Bateman
Shannon Boyd
Mitch Cornish
Mitch Cronin
Joel Edwards
Jake Foster
Jeremy Hawkins
Andrew Heffernan
Jarrad Kennedy
Tom Learoyd-Lahrs
Brenko Lee
Jeff Lynch
Patrick Mago
Sam Mataora
Josh McCrone
Matt McIlwrick
Mark Nicholls
Mosese Pangai
Tevita Pangai Junior
Jordan Rapana
Reece Robinson
Sami Sauiluma
Lagi Setu
David Shillington
Dane Tilse
Bill Tupou
Jack Wighton

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Re: Canberra Raiders 2014 Pre-Season Trial Matches and Auckland Nines
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2014, 01:08:52 AM »
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has compared him with a young Laurie Daley, and now Jack Wighton will be given his chance to stake a claim for the Raiders' No.6 jersey.

While Josh McCrone's switch from the halves to hooker has long been expected, Wighton looms as his potential replacement in the halves and will be named at five-eighth for Canberra's opening trial match against the Melbourne Storm on Saturday, February 8.

Regular five-eighth Terry Campese will be one of several senior players rested for Canberra's first pre-season match, but Stuart has made it clear that Wighton is a genuine option to partner the skipper in the halves once the NRL season kicks off.

''I'm not putting him [Wighton] there for no reason,'' Stuart said.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/jack-wighton-to-wear-no6-for-canberra-raiders-20140131-31ssc.html#ixzz2sAoidwsR

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Re: Canberra Raiders 2014 Pre-Season Trial Matches and Auckland Nines
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2014, 01:09:12 AM »
Canberra centre Jarrod Croker has defended the club's decision to field a weakened side devoid of star power for the Auckland Nines as the Raiders make it clear the NRL season is their priority.

And Raiders coach Ricky Stuart says one trial match will be enough for skipper Terry Campese and his World Cup stars - Anthony Milford and Josh Papalii - to hit the NRL season running.

Not even a share of $2.2 million in prizemoney has swayed the Raiders to field a strong team for the Auckland Nines, with Canberra's focus completely on its round-one clash with North Queensland on March 8.

Croker, Reece Robinson, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs and Joel Edwards are the only regular first-graders in the 16-man Raiders squad for the Auckland Nines, which also features six back-rowers.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/jarrod-croker-backs-ricky-stuarts-call-to-keep-star-raiders-out-of-nines-firing-line-20140201-31u8c.html#ixzz2sAn0aGtz

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Re: Canberra Raiders 2014 Pre-Season Trial Matches and Auckland Nines
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2014, 02:45:48 PM »
Will Canberra Raiders' player shuffle deal coach Ricky Stuart a winning hand?

It's the gamble that could make or break the Canberra Raiders' season, but Josh McCrone's shift to hooker could solve one long-standing headache while creating a few more.

McCrone's permanent move to the pack will trigger a major reshuffle across key positions, with new coach Ricky Stuart set to take some calculated risks to revive the NRL club's fortunes.

Who will partner Terry Campese in the halves? If Jack Wighton does, who replaces him in the centres? Does the ageing front row need an injection of fresh blood? Does Anthony Milford play fullback or halfback in his final year before joining the Brisbane Broncos? Who wins the bench utility role?

Stuart, keen to add his own stamp to the side, will begin finding answers to these questions when Canberra plays its first trial in Melbourne on Saturday night.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/will-canberra-raiders-player-shuffle-deal-coach-ricky-stuart-a-winning-hand-20140207-327lb.html#ixzz2shNVDDDR

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Re: Canberra Raiders 2014 Pre-Season Trial Matches and Auckland Nines
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2014, 02:50:43 PM »
Melbourne Storm delay Canberra Raiders trial for heat

The Melbourne Storm have pushed back the starting time of Saturday's trial game against the Canberra Raiders at AAMI Park from 5.30pm to 6.30pm because of forecast heatwave conditions.

But the Storm have elected to rest their big three - Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk - from the opening trial of the season.

It doesn't sound like the ideal scenario for fullback Slater – knee surgery, a late start to pre-season and the possibility of playing no trial games before round one.

But the World Cup-winning superstar is used to abbreviated pre-season campaigns.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/melbourne-storm-delay-canberra-raiders-trial-for-heat-20140206-323cs.html#ixzz2shOvnPww


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Re: Canberra Raiders 2014 Pre-Season Trial Matches and Auckland Nines
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2014, 02:52:53 PM »
Ricky Stuart and his department of youth at the Canberra Raiders

They're the dynamic dozen NRL rookies in the Canberra Raiders system and coach Ricky Stuart wants his young talent to show why they should be the cornerstone for the future.

But Stuart is also calling on his established leaders to lead the way and follow the blueprint laid out during the club's premiership era.

The Raiders will field a youthful squad featuring 12 players yet to debut in first grade in Saturday night's trial against the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park.

Right centre is one of the positions up for grabs as highly rated 21-year-old Jack Wighton is shifted to five-eighth alongside fellow halves contender Mitch Cornish.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/nrl-ricky-stuart-and-his-department-of-youth-at-the-canberra-raiders-20140205-321yl.html#ixzz2shPP1zWQ

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Re: Canberra Raiders 2014 Pre-Season Trial Matches and Auckland Nines
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2014, 02:56:09 PM »


NRL Team Announcement – Storm Trial (Revised kick off)

The Canberra Raiders have finalised their team line-up for the club’s first trial match of the year against the Melbourne Storm this Saturday at AAMI Park. Kick off for the trial has been put back to 6:30pm due to the likelihood of the heat.

Raiders Coach Ricky Stuart has elected to combine a mix of exciting youngsters and seasoned campaigners for the trial.

Emerging talents that have graduated from the NYC such as Jack Ahearn, Jeremy Hawkins, Brenko Lee and Jeff Lynch will feature in the trial along with current NYC stars Luke Bateman, Andrew Heffernan and Tevita Pangai Junior, after the trio trained with the top squad over the pre-season.

Many eyes will centre on the new-look scrum base combination of Jack Wighton and Mitch Cornish. The duo are highly promising prospects and now have their chance to not only reunite their NYC combination, but push their case for a permanent spot in the top grade.

Cornish and Wighton will be aided by the selection of the experienced Josh McCrone at hooker.

Raiders fans will also be anticipating the form of new recruit Lagi Setu who faces will his old side. Setu will start in the second-row and look to impress Stuart by displaying his dominance over the likes of Kevin Proctor and Tohu Harris.

Another interesting aspect of the trial will be Jarrad Kennedy coming up against his younger brother Rhys. Knowing his competitive nature, Jarrad will be doing all he can to retain the household bragging rights.

Here is how both teams will line-up for the trial:

Canberra Raiders

1. Reece Robinson
2. Mosese Pangai
3. Bill Tupou
4. Matt Allwood
5. Jeremy Hawkins
6. Jack Wighton
7. Mitch Cornish
8. David Shillington
9. Josh McCrone
10. Dane Tilse
11. Jarrad Kennedy
12. Lagi Setu
13. Joel Edwards

14. Matt McIlwrick
15. Jake Foster
16. Tom Learoyd-Lahrs
17. Shannon Boyd
18. Sam Mataora
19. Mitch Cronin
20. Andrew Heffernan
21. Jordan Rapana
22. Luke Bateman
4. Brenko Lee
6. Jack Ahearn
15. Jeff Lynch
10. Mark Nicholls
11. Patrick Mago
12. Tevita Pangai


Melbourne Storm

1. Cameron Munster
2. Young Tonumaipea
3. Justin O’Neill
4. Mahe Fonua
5. Matt Duffie
6. Ben Hampton
7. Cody Walker
8. Jordan McLean
9. Joel Romelo
10. George Rose
11. Tohu Harris
12. Kevin Proctor
13. Mitch Garbutt

14. Dayne Weston
15. Slade Griffin
16. Ben Roberts
17. Kurt Mann
18. Matt Lodge
19. Felise Kaufusi
20. Richie Kennar
21. Hymel Hunt
22. Christian Welch
23. Rhys Kennedy
24. Niua Finua Puaka
25. Tremaine Jensen

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Re: Canberra Raiders 2014 Pre-Season Trial Matches and Auckland Nines
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2014, 10:06:11 PM »
Cornish impressive in trial as Raiders see off Storm without injuries

He may have capped his Canberra Raiders coaching debut with a win, but Ricky Stuart was only concerned with one number after Saturday's 20-12 trial win in Melbourne - zero injuries.

With both teams resting a host of stars, halfback Mitch Cornish was outstanding, while fellow youngsters in centre Brenko Lee and utility Jack Ahearn also grabbed their opportunity.

Jack Wighton played five-eighth, and is considered the leading contender to be skipper Terry Campese's halves partner this season.

But former Australian Schoolboy Cornish's polished and composed display may have given Canberra's greatest halfback Stuart food for thought.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/cornish-impressive-in-trial-as-raiders-see-off-storm-without-injuries-20140208-3295b.html#ixzz2t0iClgpR

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Re: Canberra Raiders 2014 Pre-Season Trial Matches and Auckland Nines
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2014, 10:22:29 PM »
Raiders go with young guns at Auckland Nines

There will be no SOS sent to Canberra Raiders legends Laurie Daley and Mal Meninga for the inaugural Auckland Nines, with the Raiders instead focusing on development at the lucrative tournament.

And centre Jarrod Croker, who will captain the young side in New Zealand, said they will also use it to work on their creative ''ad lib'' play.

While the Sydney Roosters and Manly have brought back 42-year-old Brad Fittler and Steve Menzies, 40, respectively, the Raiders won't even take their new coach Ricky Stuart, and have opted instead for a largely inexperienced squad, with Croker and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs a couple of exceptions.

Raiders assistant coach Matt Parish, who will take charge of the side in Auckland for the two-day tournament, felt the resurrection of the former NRL stars devalued the Nines and denied the opportunity for a young player to show his wares.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/canberra-raiders-go-with-young-guns-at-auckland-nines-20140211-32g6m.html#ixzz2t0mNdPb3

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Re: Canberra Raiders 2014 Pre-Season Trial Matches and Auckland Nines
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2014, 04:47:08 PM »
Auckland Nines: All you need to know

Rules and schedule for the NRL Auckland Nines

    Nine-minute halves with a two-minute half-time
    Nine players a side with six unlimited interchange players
    Five tackles in a set
    Five points for a try scored in the bonus zone under the posts, with two-point drop kick conversion
    Five-minute golden try period in qualifying rounds; unlimited golden try in finals
    No video referee, with one on-field referee
    Scrums will only form after a double knock on, with attacking teams to elect which side to feed
    The scoring team will have a drop kick off to restart play
    A tap restart will take place after a 40/20 kick
    Five-minute sin bins

Schedule (all times Eastern)

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15

    Game 1. Sharks v Knights - 10.35am
    Game 2. Wests Tigers v Titans - 11am
    Game 3. Roosters v Eels - 11.25am
    Game 4. Broncos v Bulldogs - 11.50am
    Game 5. Warriors v Raiders - 12.25pm
    Game 6. Sea Eagles v Cowboys - 12.50pm
    Game 7. Storm v Panthers - 1.15pm
    Game 8. Rabbitohs v Dragons - 1.40pm
    Game 9. Sharks v Wests Tigers - 2.20pm
    Game 10. Knights v Titans - 2.45pm
    Game 11. Roosters v Broncos - 3.10pm
    Game 12. Eels v Bulldogs - 3.35pm
    Game 13. Warriors v Sea Eagles - 4.10pm
    Game 14. Raiders v Cowboys - 4.35pm
    Game 15. Storm v Rabbitohs - 5pm
    Game 16. Panthers v Dragons - 5.25pm

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16

    Game 17. Sharks v Titans - 10am
    Game 18. Knights v Wests Tigers - 10.25am
    Game 19. Roosters v Bulldogs - 10.50am
    Game 20. Eels v Broncos - 11.15am
    Game 21. Warriors v Cowboys - 11.45am
    Game 22. Raiders v Sea Eagles - 12.10pm
    Game 23. Storm v Dragons - 12.35pm
    Game 24. Panthers v Rabbitohs - 1pm

FINALS

    1st Quarter-Final - 1.30pm
    2nd Quarter-Final - 1.55pm
    3rd Quarter-Final - 2.20pm
    4th Quarter-Final - 2.45pm
    1st Semi-Final - 3.45pm
    2nd Semi-Final - 4.10pm
    Final - 5.30pm

THE TEAMS

Canberra: Jarrod Croker (c), Reece Robinson, Mitch Cornish, Bill Tupou, Matt McIlwrick, Joel Edwards, Glen Buttriss, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Jarrad Kennedy, Mark Nicholls, Jake Foster, Lagi Setu, Mitch Cronin, Luke Bateman, Jack Ahearn, Andrew Heffernan. 

Bulldogs: Michael Ennis (c), Sam Perrett, Mitch Brown, Chase Stanley, Tyrone Phillips, Ed Murphy, Moses Mbye, Drury Low, Tim Browne, Dale Finucane, Josh Jackson, Tony Williams, Pat OHanlon, Lachlan Burr, Corey Thompson, Lloyd Perrett.

Parramatta: Willie Tonga (c), Kenny Edwards, Bureta Faraimo, John Folau, Manu Mau, Fuifui Moimoi, Ryan Morgan, Corey Norman, Pauli Pauli, Joseph Paulo, Nathan Peats, Api Pewhairangi, Semi Radradra, Chris Sandow, Ken Sio, Peni Terepo, Vai Toutai. 

Penrith: Matt Moylan, Wes Naiqama, Josh Mansour, Isaac John, Kevin Naiqama, Jamie Soward, Jeremy Latimore, Sam McKendry, Kevin Kingston, Tyrone Peachey, Lewis Brown, Adam Docker, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Etonia Nabuli, George Jennings, Isaah Yeo.

Gold Coast: William Zillman, Brad Tighe, David Mead, Kevin Gordon, Albert Kelly, Greg Bird, Ashley Harrison, Anthony Don, Paul Carter, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Brad Takairangi, Mark Minichiello, Maurice Blair, Luke Bailey, Siuatonga Likiliki, David Taylor.

Souths: Ben Te’o (c), Nathan Merritt, Beau Champion, Alex Johnston, Joel Reddy, Dylan Walker, Luke Keary, Apisai Koroisau, Dave Tyrrell, Irae Simone, Ben Lowe, Chris McQueen, John Sutton, Cameron McInnes, Kyle Turner, Lote Tuqiri.

North Queensland: Gavin Cooper (c), Lachlan Coote, Zac Santo, Antonio Winterstein, Kane Linnett, Javid Bowen, Michael Morgan, Robert Lui, Jason Taumalolo, Ray Thompson, James Tamou, Tariq Sims, Joel Riethmuller, Rory Kostjasyn, Kyle Feldt, Curtis Rona.

Brisbane: Corey Parker (c), Ben Barba, Josh Hoffman, Dale Copley, Alex Glenn, Stewart Mills, Kodi Nikorima, Ben Hunt, Martin Kennedy, Andrew McCullough, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett, Jordan Drew, David Stagg, Todd Lowrie, Zac Strasser, Joe Ofahengaue, Jake Granville. 

Manly: Cheyse Blair, Jamie Buhrer, Michael Chee-Kam, Daly Cherry-Evans, Clinton Gutherson, James Hasson, Peta Hiku, Justin Horo, Jack Littlejohn, Steve Menzies, Ligi Sao, Tony Satini, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Tom Symonds, Jorge Taufua, David Williams.

Wests Tigers: Robbie Farah (capt), James Tedesco, David Nofoaluma, Pat Richards, Bodene Thompson, Marika Koroibete, Mitchell Moses, Blake Austin, Aaron Woods, Martin Taupau, Cory Paterson, Curtis Sironen, Adam Blair, Manaia Cherrington, Kurtis Rowe, James Gavet (17th Man: Delouise Hoeter).

St George Illawarra: Brett Morris (c), Josh Dugan, Dylan Farrell, Nathan Green, Jason Nightingale, Adam Quinlan, Sam Williams, Jack de Belin, Mitch Rein, Tyson Frizell, Leeson Ah Mau, Joel Thompson, Trent Merrin, Bronson Harrison, Michael Witt, Craig Garvey.

Melbourne: Ryan Hoffman (c),Will Chambers, Sisa Waqa, Joel Romelo, Mahe Fonua, Matt Duffie, Young Tonumaipea, Mitch Garbutt, Justin O’Neill, Tohu Harris, Matthew Lodge, Kevin Proctor, Slade Griffin, Kurt Mann, Cameron Munster, Richie Kennar. 

Cronulla: Paul Gallen (c), Nathan Gardner, Nathan Stapleton, Blake Ayshford, Jonathan Wright, Sosaia Feki, Todd Carney, Daniel Holdsworth, Andrew Fifita, Michael Lichaa, Sam Tagataese, Wade Graham, Matt Prior, Ricky Leutele, Tupou Sopoaga, Faamanu Brown.

Newcastle: Jarrod Mullen (c), Adam Cuthbertson, Jake Mamo, Dane Gagai, Joseph Leilua, Akuila Uate, Tyrone Roberts, Willie Mason, Adam Clydsdale, Chris Houston, Beau Scott, Robbie Rochow, Jeremy Smith, Michael Dobson, Alex McKinnon, Zane Tetevano. 

NZ Warriors: Jayson Bukuya, Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Glen Fisiiahi, David Fusitua, Charlie Gubb, Konrad Hurrell, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Shaun Johnson, Solomone Kata, Ngani Laumape, Tuimoala Lolohea, Sione Lousi, Suaia Matagi, Dominique Peyroux, Sam Tomkins, Carlos Tuimavave. 

Roosters: Mitchell Pearce (co-captain), Jake Friend (co-captain), Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Aidan Guerra, Kane Evans, Daniel Tupou, Samisoni Langi, Jackson Hastings, Dylan Napa, Isaac Liu, Nene Macdonald, Jonathon Rueben, Paul Rokolati, Rhyse Martin, Saulala Houma, Siosiua Taukeiah, Brad Fittler.

TV TIMES

Live: from 10am Saturday and 9.30am Sunday on Fox Sports 1.
Highlights: from 8.30pm Sunday on Fox Sports.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/auckland-nines-all-you-need-to-know-20140210-32ckj.html#ixzz2tB6JKrd3

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Re: Canberra Raiders 2014 Pre-Season Trial Matches and Auckland Nines
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2014, 08:46:55 PM »
Auckland Nines: Ricky Stuart's team is on the money

When Canberra NRL coach Ricky Stuart enlisted Luke Bateman as the club's representative for the Auckland Nines launch, it was the first clear sign ''Sticky'' has bigger fish to fry than a bit of glorified touch footy in his Raiders return.

No offence to the 19-year-old, a highly-rated lock picked in Queensland's Emerging Origin squad destined for first grade, but he's hardly a household name.

The Raiders have picked a youthful side with a sprinkling of first graders. Centre Jarrod Croker is the only player in Canberra's top five earners across the ditch, the minimum requirement for every club.

Whiz kid Anthony Milford, Kangaroos star Josh Papalii, talisman Edrick Lee and skipper Terry Campese will be watching from the couch, wrapped in cotton wool.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/auckland-nines-ricky-stuarts-team-is-on-the-money-20140214-32r7t.html#ixzz2tHuYwfko

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Re: Canberra Raiders 2014 Pre-Season Trial Matches and Auckland Nines
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2014, 08:54:45 PM »
Young Canberra Raider Luke Bateman ready to crack the big time



A LINK forged with Canberra when he was handed a scholarship by the Raiders as a 12-year-old from western Queensland will take Luke Bateman to his maiden first-grade appearance on Saturday.

The 19-year-old member of the Queensland Junior Emerging Origin squad member is one of an array of young players wanting to make an impact at the Auckland Nines which impresses their coaches and lodges their name in the memory bank of fans.

A multi-million dollar collection of Rolls Royce players yet to turn the key in the ignition this season means there are precious opportunities for under-20 players, usually with sharp haircuts and many with even sharper games.

Bateman, a lock who played Queensland Cup at 17, is the latest of a chain of Souths Logan recruits for the Raiders including Anthony Milford, Josh Papalii, three-gamer Sam Mataora and under-20 teammate Mitch Cronin.

“The opportunity in itself is unreal, but it will be good to get out there and show them I have the ability to mix it with the big boys,’’ said Bateman, who started last season in Canberra’s under-18 side before being the youngest in their under-20 finals side.

“Making a first grade debut this year would be a goal. I want to do well in the under-20s and hopefully play a fair few games for Souths Logan, contribute back to them. If I play consistently well, I will get opportunities.’’

His Canberra under-20 coach Mick Mantelli was moved to say Bateman, selected last year in the Queensland under-20 side, is “going to be a first grader, he's got his head screwed on right’’.

Brian Edwards, then the Canberra and Souths Logan recruiter, spotted Bateman at a State Schools carnival and three years later Bateman and his family left their hobby farm near Miles to live in the Logan area.

Bateman was a gifted butterfly swimmer who represented Queensland at national championships before it came time to focus on one sport.

“It was always going to be the Raiders (when he chose an NRL club). They helped me out when I was 12 years old,’’ he said.

“I played juniors with Anthony (Milford) at Souths Logan. The pathway there is awesome for kids.’’

The recognition has been swift in recent weeks. The Raiders sent Bateman to Sydney last month to model the Canberra jersey at a Nines launch.

The Queensland Origin management do not carelessly hand out invitations to their Junior Emerging squad camp, run last month by Kevin Walters with addresses from Mal Meninga and Darren Lockyer.

“It was more of getting to know the boys and the values and attitude among the origin team, what’s expected of the players when they get there,’’ Bateman said.

Source: http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/nrl/young-canberra-raider-luke-bateman-ready-to-crack-the-big-time/story-fniabjcr-1226826467678