This instalment of the Raiders scouting thread will look at Wingers. Thus far we have looked at Centre, Hooker, Backrow, Lock, Halves and Prop. I’ll look to do a write up for each position as I get time. I’ll be looking at those players off contract in the NRL in both 2018 and 2019 for options. However, I might add the odd ‘surplus’ or ‘disgruntled’ player I think might be worth a shot. I am not across the ESL, so I won’t be looking there.
Let’s have a look at what the Raiders are currently working with:
Jordan Rapana & Nick Cotric
* Contract with option in clubs favour.
# May have signed elsewhere
^ Recently re-signed
So, according to the simplistic depth formula, we need:
Due to the nature of contracts, and the apparent worthlessness of the paper they are written on, we will look at the next two seasons of options. The reason for this is, the term ‘early release’ is becoming more and more of a common occurrence.
Wing players off contract in 2018:
Tyronne Roberts-Davis, Sandor Earl, Brendan Elliot, Jacob Gagan, Reuben Garrick, Patrick Herbert, Tom Hughes, Marcus Jensen, Edrick Lee, Josh Mansour, Brett Morris, Kevin Naiqama, Jason Nightingale, Corey Oates, Justin Olam, Michael Oldfield, Jordan Pereira, Junior Ratuvu, Reece Robinson, Ken Sio, Shem Tatupu, Akuila Uate, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Antonio Winterstein, Anthony Don, Braidon Burns, Ken Maumalo,
Wing players off contract in 2019:
Nene Macdonald, Richard Kennar, Carlin Anderson, David Fusitu'a, Campbell Graham, Mawene Hiroti, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Greg Leleisiuao, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, John Olive, Jordan Rapana, Reimis Smith, Lewis Soosemea, Jorge Taufua,
I’m not going to have a list of players ‘we could never get’ as this is a terrible mentality to recruitment to start with. However, I think we have to be realistic about our options, and I also think we need to be serious about our needs. Therefore, here is my ‘no fly zone’ and a brief reason why.
No Fly Zone 2018
Braidon Burns – We are in need of depth players, of which he fits the bill, however he has been error prone in his chances at the Bunnies. So I’ll pass, as you want players looking to impress, or safe part-timers.
Anthony Don^ – He has just re-signed with the Titans.
Brendan Elliot# – I believe he has signed for ESL club Leigh Centurions.
Jacob Gagan – He is the depth player everyone has wanted for a few years, and never cracked the NRL. So, a few years on, it’s a solid pass.
Josh Mansour^ – He has re-signed with Penrith.
Ken Maumalo – He has shown this season that he is a quality NRL quality player. We don’t have room for another starter.
Brett Morris# – He is off to the Roosters next season.
Kevin Naiqama – I believe he has signed for ESL club St Helens.
Jason Nightingale – He is too close to retirement for my liking. Good player for a long time.
Corey Oates – He has aspirations of playing in the backrow, good luck to him.
Jordan Pereira – Debuted this year, at 25, for the Dragons. Don’t know enough about him to make a call.
Akuila Uate# – I believe he has signed for ESL club Huddersfield.
Malakai Watene-Zelezniak# – Is returning to Penrith to re-join his brother next season.
Antonio Winterstein – Announced his retirement about a week ago.
Young players with good reputations, but we need to win now: Reuben Garrick, Patrick Herbert, Tom Hughes, Marcus Jensen,
Players I have no information on: Junior Ratuva, Shem Tatupu
Sandor Earl – The fall guy for the peptide drama, and has had to recover from an ACL tear.
Edrick Lee – I think he has done a really good job this season for the Sharks, but I’m guessing he will want to start. I can’t see club going back this way, nor can I see Eddy agreeing to return as depth.
Reece Robinson – Came back to the NRL from Super Rugby, and played a couple of games for the Roosters. I’d say he is well past it.
We are in need of depth only, so all these picks have that in mind.
Tyronne Roberts-Davis – This kid has speed to burn and can kick goals. He only has 7 appearances in the NRL for two tries at only 20 years old. He has NRL pedigree, as Amos Roberts is his uncle, Tryrone Roberts his second cousin and James Roberts his cousin. A bit like Gideon Gela-Mosby at Cowboys, looks like a talent, and natural footballer, but still a little raw.
Justin Olam – Played seven times for PNG and has one start for Storm. Can play fullback, wing and centre. So, as depth versatility is a bonus. At 24 he is a little more mature too.
Ken Sio – Came back from the ESL to join the Knights and can kick goals. He is experienced and safe, but probably not pushing for first grade either. He will be pushed out of the Knights with all their incoming troops. I’d say he is a very safe depth option.
No Fly Zone 2019
David Fusitu'a – He is an NRL quality player, and currently in the top try scorers for the year. Unless we move a current starter on, we don’t have room for him.
Campbell Graham – He is young, but has managed to lock down a starting spot at the Bunnies. Can’t see him leaving to be depth.
Shaun Kenny-Dowall – He is an NRL quality player. Unless we move a current starter on, we don’t have room for him.
Nene Macdonald – He is an NRL quality player. Unless we move a current starter on, we don’t have room for him.
John Olive – Couldn’t get regular footy at the Titans, and only lasted a couple of weeks for the Dogs this year. Just not good enough.
Reimis Smith – Former Raider, Tyran Smith’s son. I think he has looked every bit an NRL player since debuting for the Dogs. Which means I can’t see him signing a depth contract.
Jorge Taufua – He is an NRL quality player. Unless we move a current starter on, we don’t have room for him.
Young players with good reputations, but we need to win now: Mawene Hiroti, Lewis Soosemea
Players I have no information on: None
We are in need of depth only, so all these picks have that in mind.
Carlin Anderson – This is the type of young kid looking for a chance. He can play fullback, so could be a good option to replace a guy like Brad Abbey.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad – He has seven tries in seven games for the Warriors, and one try in three games for the Cook Islands. Played for Storm in SG Ball and NYC. He was named at centre in ISP team of the year in 2016. Can play wing, centre or fullback. So, versatility really works in his favour there, so should he not crack the NRL fulltime next year, could be an option.
Richard Kennar – He nearly established himself as a starter for the Bunnies this year, but back to back injuries stuffed him. He can play wing or centre, so if he would come as depth, it would be a really good move.
Greg Leleisiuao – The Eels originally thought he might be the perfect replacement for Semi Radradra. He was a try scoring and tackle busting machine in the u20’s. Definitely the type of guy you want pushing for a place. While I can’t see him coming to sit behind established players, it would be a real cue to steal a talented youngster like him.
Michael Oldfield^ – Re-signed just recently.
Jordan Rapana – We would be nuts not to re-sign one of, if not, the best winger in the NRL.
While I see Cotric as being a force in the centres in the future, with a very similar style of play to Leilua, but without as many errors. The right is his preferred side too. However, with our centres and winger’s locked down, we are really looking at the depth department.
Ill rank the options we have:
1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
2. Richard Kennar
3. Greg Leleisiuao
4. Justin Olam
5. Tyronne Roberts-Davis
6. Carlin Anderson
7. Ken Sio
Unfortunately, our best options aren’t available until next year. Nicoll-Klokstad is easily the most talented of the bunch, Kennar the most experience, and Leleisiuao the most damaging talent.
Justin Olam is probably the best option right now, as he has versatility and maturity on his side. Of the rest I think Stuart would pick Sio, for experience and reliability, which is why he liked Oldfield. It’s really slim pickings here.