Rugby League


Foster ready for new challenge

Canberra Raiders recruit Jake Foster needed just one word - frightening - to describe teammate Josh Papalii's work on the tackling pads.

The former Canterbury forward said the challenge of forcing his way into one of the NRL's more destructive second rows proved too hard to resist.

Starved of first grade opportunities under Des Hasler at Belmore, Foster will start afresh at Canberra next year.

While Hasler is rated one of the game's best coaches, the chance to be mentored by former international back-rower David Furner played a major role in his decision to sign a two-year deal.

''We haven't touched a ball much over the pre-season, but when we have my ears have pricked up listening to what he [Furner] has to say, because he's been there and done that,'' Foster said.

''He's helping coach Australia so he knows his stuff, and I've learnt some things already off him.


''He was a tough type of player. I love that tough stuff, just getting in there and really mixing it up with a few of the big boys and try to get a few offloads away.''

With the likes of Frank Pritchard, James Graham and Josh Jackson ahead of him in the pecking order at Canterbury, Foster managed just 10 NRL games in three seasons.

The presence of Papalii, Joel Thompson and Newcastle recruit Joel Edwards means Foster's quest for a permanent first grade spot won't be any easier at the Raiders.

''There's some big boys there, I just saw Papa warming up on the pads and it's pretty frightening,'' Foster said.

''You see one of those guys pull off something big and you want to be the next one.''

The decline of Bronson Harrison proves Furner values form over reputation.

Emerging as one of the game's best second-rowers in 2010, Harrison has signed with the Dragons for the next two years after form and injury issues last season.

''There's great competition amongst the second-rowers here,'' Foster said. ''On game day if you're not putting in, it goes to show the consequences.

''There's a few differences here (compared to the Bulldogs).

''We're really concentrating on our fitness to get a great start to the season after they started slowly last year.

''I'm just trying to soak in everything Furnsey's saying and play the best football I can.''