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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Rapana ready to play anywhere

Canberra Raiders star Jordan Rapana has put his hand up to cover any position he’s required as he returns from a brief rugby union stint in Japan.

After officially signing with the Raiders last Thursday 7 May, Rapana said he’s happy to be back in his “home away from home” and training with his much-loved teammates.

“It’s awesome to be back in the NRL; to come back to the Raiders is even more special.

“Fortunate enough I was able to get a deal back here at the Raiders, so I’m absolutely stoked.”

Having played mainly on the wing during his time in Canberra, many expected Rapana would slot straight back in when he returned, but with the form of young guns Nik Cotric and Bailey Simonsson, it may not be that simple.

“Bailey and Nik have earnt their spots. They’ve played some great footy.

“I’ve spoken to Ricky (Stuart) and we’ve talked about how I can cover where I’m needed. I’ve put on some extra weight from union so I’m sure I could cover in the forwards if need be,” he smiled.

Rapana all but ruled out a return to rugby union after this season saying he would love to finish his career in Canberra with the Raiders, but there was still uncertainty about his future after 2020.

“Ideally, Canberra’s become my home away from home and I’d love to stay here for the rest of my career.

“I’m not too sure what the future has but, if I had it my way, I’d definitely like to stay here and stay in League for sure,” he said.

In another win for league, when asked to settle which rugby code was tougher, Rapana was very quick to respond.

“Oh, definitely league, definitely league,” he smiled.

On a more serious note, Rapana was asked about the latest hurdle in the NRL’s bid to return on 28 May – the Queensland Government’s insistence that all NRL players must receive a flu shot if they are to play and train in the Sunshine State.

A trio of Raiders player, Josh Papalii, Joe Tapine and Sia Soliola have all refused the injection due to religious beliefs but Rapana says they have his backing.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty around that at the moment. They’re grown men, that’s their beliefs and they have my support.”

Despite having his support, Rapana said not having those three available for certain games would be a big loss for the side.

“They’re a big part of our team. Sia (Soliola), Josh (Papalii) and Taps (Tapine) are three of our key players so it definitely would (impact our premiership chances).”

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