Raiders look to expand British colony in Canberra

Depending on what coach Ricky Stuart has in mind, there is every chance Canberra could become the first club to field four Brits since all four Burgess brothers all took the field for South Sydney in round 25, 2013.

Hodgson was certainly of the belief his countrymen would have more than what it takes to make an instant impact.

Brit of alright: Captain Josh Hodgson reckons his English countrymen will lift the Raiders.

Brit of alright: Captain Josh Hodgson reckons his English countrymen will lift the Raiders.Credit:Karleen Minney

«It’s nice to have a few more of us come over and they will be great additions,’ Hodgson told The Sun-Herald. «We’ve also got Ryan Clayton who is an ex-Super League player who is our rehab conditioner, so he’s a fifth.

«In terms of standards, I’ve spoken to John a bit and touched on it with Ryan how you have to turn up every week. I’ve always said the competition at the top in England is a good competition, and they’d certainly match it out here.

«But the difference between the bottom-placed teams there and the bottom-placed teams here, there’s a big gap. You can not play well against some of the bottom-placed teams in England and still win, but it won’t happen here.

«They’re both professionals. The ruck speed they’ll pick up easily because they’re not overly big men with good engines. I think they’ll both suit the NRL.»

Bateman is expected to push for a bench spot for next Sunday’s opener on the Gold Coast, as is 23-year-old prop Sutton.

Co-captain Jarrod Croker said of the imports: »It might be easier for them to transition here because it’s like a big country town and we’re pretty easy-going. If they want to keep coming here we’re happy to have them. It’s still hard to understand a few of then, but we’ll get around that.»

When Hodgson went down with a ruptured ACL during England’s semi-final win over Tonga at the World Cup — and was set to miss the first half of Canberra’s campaign last year — plenty of experts were prepared to jump off the Raiders such was the influence of their No. 9.


Hodgson was not only happy to be fit, but expected a big season from halfback Aidan Sezer.

«Aidan has had a fantastic pre-season, and having someone like Jack Wighton who is a big strong runner of the ball who will call it when he sees something [will be good for him],» he said.

«He tends to have a bit of a hot head and can blow-up, but he seems calm this year, and if you’re calm, that means you’re confident.

«We said to him, ‘This ship is yours, you steer us around and we’ll play something if we see something, otherwise you call the shots’.

«We did a little bit of that last year with ‘Austo’ [Blake Austin]. They were both dominant players and I don’t know if they clashed a bit, even though they were such good mates off the field. I’m not too sure. It’s meant a lot to him [to be given full ownership] and it’s given him a lot of confidence.»

Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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