The popular 27-year-old Canberra star, who has played exactly a century of games in first grade since his debut for the Penrith Panthers back in 2011, was generous enough to share his thoughts on the Raiders’ 2017 battles, and how his side can return to the pointy end of the ladder in 2018.
“I think things are going to naturally change this year without the injured Josh Hodgson being there for us. Josh is obviously a pretty integral part of our attack and he’s going to be sorely missed, but on the flip side, it’s going to really allow myself and our halfback Aidan Sezer to really stand up and take control of the team.
“Until we do that ... there’s not too much point sitting around talking about it. We’ve been really pleased we’ve been able to work on our attacking footy so much over the preseason. Aidan and myself are really good mates. We want to enjoy plenty more success together on the field.”
BETTER TIMES AHEAD
“As far as goals for 2018 go, I think first and foremost for myself, it’s been all about getting myself in tip-top shape. I’ve had good preseasons in years gone by, but this summer was about going the extra mile; turning a good preseason into a really great one. I think I’ve managed to do that. My body weight, body mass, speed and agility are where they should be. My fitness level and body shape are really going to help me this year.
“I’m really heading into this year with the mindset of having a clear mind about what my strengths are, and then really sticking to them. A lot of my thoughts about where I need to be are based around 2015 – that was obviously one of my better seasons. Back then I think I just had a clear mind. I was there to run the footy, and my passing and organisational game came off the back of that ball-running. Again, that probably comes from your fitness and your body shape really giving you confidence.”
As told to James Smith