Rugby League


Canberra Raiders recruit Aidan Sezer on track for Newcastle Knights trial game

Canberra Raiders recruit Aidan Sezer says he is settling into life at his new club and can't wait to kick-start his combination with star five-eighth Blake Austin.

Sezer is currently recovering from shoulder surgery, but is aiming to be right to make his Raiders debut in the club's one and only trial game against the Newcastle Knights at Wade Park in Orange on February 20.

The former Gold Coast Titans playmaker is on a modified training load and has been completing his recovery alongside Austin, who was last season's Dally M five-eighth of the year.

"It's been a good transition from the Gold Coast," Sezer said.

"It's been a tough pre-season so far, but a couple more weeks to go then have a good break and come back rejuvenated and ready for a big year.


"I should be right for the trial games and it shouldn't be too much of a drama."

Sezer and second-rower Sia Soliola presented the NRL's wellbeing message to students at St Edmund's College on Wednesday.

Sezer said he would begin contact work on his shoulder when the Raiders resume training in the New Year.

The Raiders could unveil the exciting Sezer/Austin halves partnership for the first time at the Auckland Nines from February 6-7.

But the more likely scenario is they will be kept in cotton wool for the trial against the Knights so they get one full hit-out together before the season proper kicks off.

The Raiders also have the luxury of having last season's starting halfback Sam Williams in the mix.

Williams performed impressively this year after returning to the club following a stint with the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Catalans Dragons in France.

 "It's unfortunate me and Austo are in the injury list at the moment, but obviously there is Sammy Williams there," Sezer said.

"Whoever plays in the halves will strike up a good combination."

With Sezer and Austin in the halves, the addition of English international forward Elliott Whitehead and the improvement of several young stars from last season, the Raiders will fancy their chances of making a quick start to the season.

The Raiders are notoriously slow out of the blocks and haven't been helped by usually having to play a majority of away games in the early rounds.

But with three of their first four games next year at Canberra Stadium, the Raiders have the perfect opportunity to set the platform for a return to the finals, a place they haven't been since 2012.

"It's always nice to have them at home, you don't have that travel to consider and it's great to play in front of the Raiders' fans," Sezer said.

"You can't put a finger on why the club has started slowly, but no doubt everyone is working hard to change that next year.

"A good start to the year puts you in a better position around Origin time when you have a few players out.

"It's definitely a positive for the club to have a few home games."