Rugby League

Melbourne Storm's Ben Hampton on Canberra Raiders' radar

You can add promising Melbourne Storm five-eighth Ben Hampton to the long list of players the Canberra Raiders have been linked to for next season.

The Raiders have discussed the 22-year-old, but haven't got as far down the track as offering him a contract to join the NRL club. The Raiders are understandably being judicious in who they make approaches to after being spurned by several high-profile targets this year.

Ben Hampton has been linked to the Raiders.
Ben Hampton has been linked to the Raiders. Photo: Christopher Chan

Star Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco put pen to paper before having a change of heart, Kiwi international Kevin Proctor verbally agreed to move to Canberra before deciding to remain in Melbourne, while the Raiders were also well advanced in talks with Michael Ennis and Josh Mansour.

The dealings with Hampton have not progressed to that extent, but he could be handy for the Raiders at fullback, or as a long-term replacement for five-eighth Terry Campese.

The Raiders don't have a clear-cut option to replace the sizeable shoes left by Anthony Milford's departure to the Brisbane Broncos at the end of the season.

NSW Residents representative and Raiders-contracted player Jack Ahearn, 21, has been chosen in that team as a five-eighth, but like Hampton, is also comfortable at fullback.

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Reece Robinson could play there, but the Raiders have yet to re-sign him for next year.

Robinson has had one game at fullback for the Raiders this season – in the loss against the Bulldogs a fortnight ago when Milford was named on the bench after being involved with the Queensland State of Origin team.

Hampton captained the Queensland under-20s team in 2012 and made his first-grade debut with the Storm last year.

He has made 11 appearances this season, starting at five-eighth in the team's most recent game, against the St George Illawarra Dragons.

A report on news.com.au said that Hampton's manager Jim Bangahan has had discussions with four clubs about his client – the Raiders, Storm, North Queensland Cowboys and Cronulla Sharks.

“I am speaking to four clubs at the moment,” Banaghan said. “Ben hadn’t even spoken to the Sharks let alone signed with them. Someone put it up on social media, it took off everywhere and everyone presumed he’d signed with Cronulla.

“Souths pursued him some years ago, but he decided to have two more years at Melbourne because he believed he needed to work on some aspects of his game and he did that.

“Now it’s time to look at what options are best for his future.”