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Sea Eagles swoop on young Raiders star for three years

Date

Lee Gaskin

Raiders under 20 player  Michael Chee-Kam is off to the Sea Eagles.

Raiders under 20 player Michael Chee-Kam is off to the Sea Eagles. Photo: Richard Briggs RCB

Emerging Canberra Raiders star Michael Chee Kam says he would have been crazy to turn down the security of a three-year deal with the Manly Sea Eagles.

The Raiders offered the 20-year-old second-rower/centre a deal until the end of 2014, but he rejected it in favour of greater first-grade opportunities and an extra 12 months at Sydney's northern beaches.

Chee Kam burst on to the Sea Eagles' radar with a string of impressive performances in the Toyota Cup, none moreso than when he scored a hat-trick in the Raiders' victory against the Brisbane Broncos last month.

''They put up a pretty good offer,'' Chee Kam said of the Sea Eagles. ''I was just thinking about my family and my future, what was best for me and having a long deal like that.

''The Raiders put up a good offer, but the three years from Manly … it was crazy not to take it.''

Chee Kam will get a first-hand look at what his future holds when the Raiders take on the Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval on Sunday.

Born in Auckland, he was spotted at a junior representative carnival in New Zealand when he was 15 and joined the Melbourne Storm's SG Ball (under 18) team.

The Raiders recruited Chee Kam in 2010 and helped in relocating his close-knit family - father Tasi, mother Sene and younger brothers Esera, 14, and 10-year-old Livingstone - to Canberra.

''I'll always be grateful to the Raiders for giving me that opportunity,'' Chee Kam said.

''I learnt a lot from guys like Joel Thompson and Josh Papalii when I was training with the first-grade squad in the pre-season.

''What it's like to be a professional footballer and what you have to do to stay at that level.''

Sea Eagles general manager of football Steve Gigg said Chee Kam was a long-term prospect and added depth to his club's roster.

The Raiders have a wealth of second-rowers at their disposal, including Papalii, Thompson, Joe Picker and Kiwi international Bronson Harrison.

Raiders chief executive Don Furner questioned how the Sea Eagles could afford Chee Kam given they are facing an uphill battle to retain their premiership-winning squad.

''We put in two very good offers for Mike, Manly put a better one in,'' Furner said.

''The figures blew me away a bit. I did actually speak to the NRL about that, because I'm amazed at how Manly could pinch him and they're struggling to keep first-graders in their cap.''

Gigg said Chee Kam wouldn't be included as part of Manly's top 25 highest-paid players next year and as such, his addition wouldn't have any impact on his club's ability to re-sign their stars.

''Michael does not come into that category and his signing is completely irrelevant to any existing retention issues that we have,'' Gigg said. ''I can understand their frustrations because it [losing junior players] happens to every club. Unfortunately it's a facet of modern football life.''

3 comments so far

  • This is why the Queanbeyan stanglehold on the raiders needs a cleanout. Mcintyre and the furners need the boot and new blood brought in. Only when there is no one at the games will the message get through.

    Commenter
    pete
    Location
    bermagui
    Date and time
    May 03, 2012, 8:21AM
    • C'mon Furner stop your whinging...you could just have wished the young man good luck, seeing you poached him from Melbourne.
      @pete. I agree too much of the old guard hanging around which stops COMPLETE CHANGE occuring. Case in point have a look at what's happening in Brisbane after Wayne Bennett sacked a lot of the 'old guard'.

      Commenter
      BillyRayCyrus
      Date and time
      May 03, 2012, 2:18PM
      • He'll be the first of many to leave the 'family farm'. Look at our crop that won the 2008 NYC - how have they all fared in first grade? Being coached by a hack has seen players with great potential flounder and go on to achieve very little. If I was playing in the current NYC team I would be running to a Manly, Canterbury, Brisbane, Melbourne or Newcastle - because it is the only way I will be able to get the coaching required to take the next step in my career. You made your bed Furner/Furner and McIntyre - prepare to lie in it as more young talent signs elsewhere.

        Commenter
        Lulz McGullz
        Location
        Chip City
        Date and time
        May 03, 2012, 5:08PM

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        PEN vs PAR 16:00Pepp
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        BRI vs PEN 19:50SUN
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        CBR vs NZW 15:00GIO
        GCT vs PAR 17:30Cbus
        MEL vs SYD 19:30AAMI
        Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
        CRO vs NEW 14:00Shark Park
        STG vs WST 16:00ANZ
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        SOU vs MAN 19:00ANZ
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        Wed, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
        NZW vs PEN 22:00MSS
        Thu, 28 JulTimes shown AEST
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        PAR vs WST 00:00ANZ
        SOU vs CBR 00:00ANZ
        MAN vs NEW 00:00BO
        NQL vs MEL 00:001300
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        Thu, 04 AugTimes shown AEST
        STG vs BRI 00:00WIN
        PAR vs MAN 00:00Pirtek
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        NEW vs CBY 00:00HS
        MEL vs SOU 00:00AAMI
        GCT vs NZW 00:00Cbus
        WST vs NQL 00:00VAS
        PEN vs SYD 00:00Pepp
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        Wed, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
        NZW vs SOU 22:00MSS
        Thu, 11 AugTimes shown AEST
        CBY vs MAN 00:00ANZ
        BRI vs PAR 00:00SUN
        WST vs GCT 00:00CSS
        STG vs CRO 00:00Jubilee Oval
        NEW vs PEN 00:00HS
        SYD vs NQL 00:00AS
        CBR vs MEL 00:00GIO
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        Round 24
        Thu, 18 AugTimes shown AEST
        BRI vs CBY 00:00SUN
        SYD vs STG 00:00AS
        NEW vs GCT 00:00HS
        NQL vs NZW 00:001300
        MAN vs MEL 00:00BO
        CBR vs PAR 00:00GIO
        PEN vs WST 00:00Pepp
        SOU vs CRO 00:00ANZ
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        Round 25
        Wed, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
        NZW vs WST 22:00MSS
        Thu, 25 AugTimes shown AEST
        CBY vs NQL 00:00Belmore Sports Ground
        MEL vs BRI 00:00AAMI
        GCT vs PEN 00:00Cbus
        MAN vs CBR 00:00BO
        CRO vs SYD 00:00Shark Park
        NEW vs SOU 00:00HS
        PAR vs STG 00:00Pirtek
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        Round 26
        Wed, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
        NZW vs PAR 22:00MSS
        Thu, 01 SepTimes shown AEST
        BRI vs SYD 00:00SUN
        CBY vs SOU 00:00ANZ
        STG vs NEW 00:00Jubilee Oval
        NQL vs GCT 00:001300
        MEL vs CRO 00:00AAMI
        WST vs CBR 00:00VAS
        PEN vs MAN 00:00Pepp
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