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White happy to put contract talks on hold

Brett White trains on Thursday.

Brett White trains on Thursday. Photo: Colleen Petch

Raiders veteran Brett White is putting off contract talks with the club until the former representative prop is satisfied he can return to his best.

White, who will turn 31 in April, is on track to make his comeback from a knee reconstruction in the season opener against the Penrith Panthers on March 10.

The Kangaroos and NSW enforcer played just five games last season before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament against the Cowboys, and is eager to recapture his trademark form before continuing on next year.

The prop is hoping to hit the ground running in 2013 after injury ruined his 2012 season.

The prop is hoping to hit the ground running in 2013 after injury ruined his 2012 season. Photo: Colleen Petch

''I've said I don't want to even talk about it to the club,'' White said.

''If I'm going to play on I want to know I can produce my best footy. I don't want to come back half able to do the job and play past my time.

''I want to know within myself that it might take half a dozen games [but] that I know I can still play my best footy. When I realise that and can keep playing on, then I'll make that decision whether to talk to the club.''

The Raiders face a challenge to retain a host of off-contract players, including White, halfback Sam Williams, forward Joel Thompson and centre Jarrod Croker.

They are also keen to convince big hitter Josh Papalii to turn his back on a three-year deal with Parramatta.

''I don't think the Papalii situation puts a hold on [negotiations],'' White said.

''It doesn't affect me that much … I'll notify them if I'm going to play on.

''You're also talking with players from other clubs, so it's like a big jigsaw puzzle.''

White is in the final year of a three-year contract with the Raiders after spending his first seven seasons with the Melbourne Storm.

He was one of the Raiders' most consistent players in 2011 and was last year elevated into the club's leadership group as a vice-captain.

White has played in the past two trials and will return to bolster Canberra's front-row rotation comprising Test representative David Shillington, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs and Dane Tilse.

But the likes of Sam Mataora, Mark Nicholls, Scott Jones and Paul Vaughan are ready replacements if their opportunity arises.

''One thing I've noticed is the amount of depth we have in the squad,'' White said.

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