Aidan Sezer and Sam Williams fight for two spots
But coach Ricky Stuart has thrown a cat among the pigeons after naming Sam Williams and Sezer in the halveswith Austin on the bench for their roundone clash against Penrith on Saturday.
Stuart could beplaying mind games aheadof theseason proper, with Sam Williams appearing to be theunlucky one on the outside looking in.
Raiders fans are excited with the halves combination of Aidan Sezer and Blake Austin. Photo: Melissa Adams
Williams has done absolutely nothing wrong. The 24 year old enjoyed an impressive season in the No.7 jersey last year in his second stint at the Raiders.
The chance to secure a player of Sezer’s calibre on the open market was too good to resist.
This is the sort of depth and competition for spots the Raiders have been craving for years and will be vital to them returning to the finals for the first time since 2012.
Austin admitted the Raiders were in a unique situation, but it was one that would bring the best out of everyone.cheap nfl jerseys
Aidan Sezer in action for the Gold Coast Titans last year. Photo: Matt Roberts
“We’ve got three NRL quality halves here at the club and it’s probably not something too many clubs can say,” Austin said.
“Aidan’s come here to play a role. He hasn’t come here to take a back seat to no one. I feel the same. And Sammy probably feels the same, too.
Sam Williams will put pressure on Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer for a spot in the halves. Photo: Rohan Thomson
“Whoever gets those two jerseys come round one will have to work hard and play some good footy because there will be a third half chomping at the bit to get into the team.”
Austin is coming off a breakout season where he turned in a man of the match performance for Country, was named the Dally M five eighth of the year and was on the verge of State of Origin honours.
He’s joined by a clever halfback in Sezer, who displayed an astute kicking game in his four seasons at the Gold Coast Titans.
Williams won’t give up his position without a fight, but knows team success is the ultimate goal.
“I want to be the starting halfback in whatever team I play,” Williams said.
“I want to make it my own, we’re in a position where we are blessed to have depth.
“I’m a local bloke who has come through the Raiders’ system and I really want to see the club do well.
“However that works out, whether it’s round one or throughout the season, I just want to be part of a successful Canberra Raiders.”
Austin, Sezer and Williams are at roughly the same stage of their careers.
Austin, 25, has played 58 games in five seasons, spending the first three with the Penrith Panthers and 2014 with the Wests Tigers.
Sezer, 24, is the most experienced of the trio with 71 games in four seasons with the Titans, while Williams, also 24, has made 62 first grade appearances.
Sezer said all three players had something to prove.
“I don’t think we’re too established as yet,” Sezer said.
“We’ve had a few years of first grade between the each of us.
“Sammy’s had his ups and downs, I’ve had my ups and downs and Austo’s sort of found a home last year.