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Friday, May 14, 2021

Raiders recruit Ryan James ready to rumble

Raiders recruit Ryan James is upfront about what he came to Canberra for.

“I’d love to come down and win a premiership,” he said.

The 29-year-old middle forward signed a two-year deal with the Raiders last year, having spent the entirety of his career with the Gold Coast Titans.

Only playing one final in 11 years of NRL so far, he’s keen to add to that tally in Canberra.

“I just think the depth, the players that we’ve got and just the calibre of player and coaching staff, we’re going to give it a red-hot crack,” he said.

Having suffered back-to-back ACL injuries in 2019 and on the eve of the 2020 season, it’s now been nearly 700 days since James last played first grade in round 6 of the 2019 season.

After sitting on the sidelines for that long, James is keen to get back on the paddock for the trial against the Sydney Roosters at Seiffert Oval in Queanbeyan this weekend.

“I’ll see if I can do it anymore, it should be right,” he smiled. “It’s been a long time.

“Once I’ve played the scrimmages and stuff here, it gets that weight off your shoulders. It’s just transferring that to the field.”

Ryan James Titans Raiders 2018
29-year-old middle forward Ryan James signed a two-year deal with the Raiders last year, having spent the entirety of his career with the Gold Coast Titans. Getty.

James joins Canberra as part of a forward pack with formidable depth that will see him competing with the likes of Josh Papalii, Dunamis Lui, Joe Tapine, Corey Horsburgh, Sia Soliola, Emre Guler and Ryan Sutton for a spot in the middle forward rotation.

“It just creates competition between everyone,” he said.

“The level of training down here is something I’ve noticed, it’s a lot different.

“Down here everyone’s fighting for your spot so everyone’s going hard … If you can get close to game simulation at training, footy doesn’t become that hard.”

James arrived in Canberra before Christmas and joined the club’s under-21 squad to rip into pre-season a few weeks before the first-grade squad came back.

Having relocated here with his young family, James says they’ve all settled in well over summer.

“It’s been humid the last couple of days so it’s sort of like the Gold Coast,” he smiled.

“Everyone’s been welcoming – the coaching staff, the players, the community; they love the Raiders.

“The kids are in school, the other one’s in day care, so we’re into a good routine.”

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