Ryan James will join the Canberra Raiders in 2021, after the 29-year old signed a two-year deal with the club.
James has spent his entire NRL career at the Gold Coast Titans, racking up 144 games since making his debut in 2010 and playing five games for the Indigenous All-Stars side.
James was one of the game’s best front rowers just a few years ago, but has unfortunately suffered back-to-back ACL injuries, keeping him out of action since 2018.
The inclusion of James will provide the Raiders with plenty of experience and leadership both on and off the field.
James has been a captain of the Tians since 2016 and is also known for his work in the Indigenous community, winning the Ken Stephens medal in 2018 for his work in this field.
The signing of James is the Raiders’ second big name recruit in recent weeks after Corey Harawira-Naera joined the club late last month.
James said he was looking forward to the challenge of coming to a new club, but also acknowledged his time at the Titans.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of heading to Canberra and working with Ricky Stuart and the Raiders squad,” James said.
“The Titans have been a wonderful club for me, and I’ll be forever grateful for what they’ve done for my career.”
If James can remain injury-free, a combination with fellow big man Josh Papalii could prove destructive for opposition teams as both can find the try line.
In fact, James holds the record for most tries scored in a season by a front rower with 12 tries in the 2016 season, while Papalii has amassed 51 tries in his career.
Raiders recruitment and high-performance director, Peter Mulholland, said he was thrilled with the signing.
“We know what Ryan can bring to our club with his football and leadership,” Mulholland said.
“He’s a tremendous talent who leads by example on and off the field and we believe he will be a valuable addition to our forward pack, particularly for some of our up and coming players.”