What do you get when you mix blue and gold? Green of course!
Word on the street is the Eels have a number of Raiders in their sights as they look to add some much needed talent to the poorest playing roster in the NRL. Besides the tug of war for Josh Papalii, the Eels are set to make a play for Joel Thompson, Jarrod Croker and Sam Williams.
The Raiders would obviously love to keep all four but being a realist, I don’t think that’s going to be possible.
So who goes and who stays? Well, that’s a tough one. At the moment, everything is centred around Josh Papalii and what he decides to do. If he stays with the Raiders, then I would suggest Joel Thompson is as good as gone. As much as I like Joel, I could live with keeping three out of four.
I could also handle losing Papalii if we keep the other three. Canberra have good depth at the moment and as much as you’d like to, you can’t keep them all.
For me, Sam Williams is the number one priority for the Raiders. He has established himself in first grade and looks to have a long, prosperous future barring injury. He has a calm demeanour and never looks rushed, much the same way Cameron Smith plays the game.
Quality halves don’t grow on trees and Williams has come through the junior development system at Canberra so keeping him in green is a must. Yes, Canberra do have depth in the halves with Anthony Milford and Mitch Cornish on the rise but Williams is now an established first grader and will only continue to improve.
Of course, none of us are privy to the inner sanctum of Raiders management and contractual negotiations are usually far more complex than we realise, especially if third party deals are involved.
It would be great if the NRL took their head out of the sand and introduced a transfer system to reward clubs like the Raiders who are often a nursery for other clubs but this is the world we live in so we have to suck it up and make the most of it.
If Josh Papalii is a club man, he needs to make a decision on his future before the start of the NRL season to give the Raiders the chance to either build around him or make decisions based on his eventual departure and salary cap space available.
I’d also be inclined to play Terry Campese at lock, if and when he returns. Round five has been mentioned but I seriously doubt we will see him before round ten.