Here’s our look at the 2015 Key Signings for Canberra Raiders. They are about to start life without Terry Campese and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs as Ricky Stuart begins his second year at the helm of the Raiders.
1. Blake Austin
I like many took interest in this youngster, after a segment that was aired on the Footy Show showing Austin volunteer working with Doonside Roos appeared all over YouTube. His attitude and commitment to the youngsters of the game created a personality any League fan admires. But the sad reality of why I hadn’t heard of Austin and his MOTM performances in multiple NSW Cup fixtures, that led him to be fielded in replacement for injured Braith Anasta for the remainder of the 2014 NRL season, was purely because the likes of Mitchell Moses, Luke Brooks and Curtis Sironen as future stars for both club and country dominated the headlines. Austin was also making appearances off the bench for Penrith during their 2012 NRL season where the team finished second last on the ladder, while it was certainly a season to forget for those at the foot of the mountains, Austin surprised with kicking eight-from-nine field goals in sixteen appearances.
But now that 10-year Raiders five eigth Terry Campese has gone off to England to play with Hull KR, 2015 should see Austin play a full season in the NRL in the starting squad, and at age 23 this looks like his best shot if he wants to make it big in Rugby League, something that would benefit the Raiders immensely.
2. Sisa Waqa
This Rugby Union turned Rugby League star was failing to play consistent footy for the Sydney Roosters in 2010, before he took up a contract in the cross-border state and has since been making multiple headlines. Waqa begun to play an essential role in the team line-up appearing 67 times for the Storm within a three-year period with little injuries to stunt the Fijian’s momentum. Now the star has landed a two-year contract under the infamous recruitment of Ricky Stuart and is definitely a huge bonus for both the coach’s reputation and the team.
3. Frank Paul-Nu’uausala
Known for his big hits on players of the opposition that nearly ‘knock the hyphen’ out of his name, Nu’uausala has been granted a release from the final year of his contract after seven years with the Bondi club. Nu’uausala played Lock during the 2013 season where the Roosters won the NRL Premiership against the Sea Eagles, and was later included into the starting squad that won the World Club Challenge. At age 27, Nu’uausala still has a lot of fuel in the tank and his experience over the last few years will certainly add to his fire.