Bailey Simonsson in Sevens heaven following Canberra Raiders upgrade
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Bailey Simonsson in Sevens heaven following Canberra Raiders upgrade

Working with the best will only help make you the best, which is why Canberra Raiders back Bailey Simonsson says his time with the All Blacks Sevens will be invaluable.

Simonsson's completed a full circle - having started out in the Raiders' junior program before playing under-20s for Canterbury.

Bailey Simonsson hopes his time with the All Blacks Sevens will help him establish his career with the Raiders.

Bailey Simonsson hopes his time with the All Blacks Sevens will help him establish his career with the Raiders.Credit:Dion Georgopoulos

He then moved to New Zealand to play sevens before returning to the Green Machine.

Having started the summer on a train-and-trial deal, Simonsson has impressed so much he earned a development contract before upgrading to the top-30.

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He'll return to lime green for the first time in the trial against Parramatta at St Marys on Friday night.

There'll he have the chance to stake his claim at either fullback or on the wing for their trial against the Bulldogs - which will be close to a full-strength Raiders squad.

"I learnt a lot, most importantly was my time in New Zealand with the team there," Simonsson said of his journey.

"Some of the boys I got to play with there were the best players in the world so it was really humbling and some of the small things I learnt off them were things I've taken here to try and improve my game.

"It's huge. I think there's a reason why those sort of teams are right up there in the world stage and a lot of that's their culture off the field as well."

Simonsson said while he started the pre-season with the goal of making the top-30 squad, but he was still surprised with how quickly it happened.

He's been training both at fullback and on the wing - both of which have openings for round one against the Gold Coast Titans.

The 20-year-old has been picking the brains of Jack Wighton, who has switched to five-eighth.

"Jacko's been great for everyone that's been subbing in and training at fullback as well," Simonsson said.

"He's obviously a very experienced player and got a lot of knowledge in that position. A lot of us have been a sponge off him and learning all we can and he's been great with that too."

CANBERRA RAIDERS UPCOMING GAMES

Pre-season trials: Canberra Raiders v Parramatta Eels at St Marys, Friday 7pm; Raiders v Canterbury Bulldogs at Bega, February 23 5pm.

Round 1: Canberra Raiders v Gold Coast Titans at the Gold Coast, March 17 6.10pm.

Raiders squad: Brad Abbey, Luke Bateman, JJ Collins, Emre Guler, Siliva Havili, Corey Horsburgh, Royce Hunt, Dan Keir, Seb Kris, Dunamis Lui, Mathew Lyons, Dean Matterson, Jack Murchie, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Andre Niko, Reuben Porter, Tony Satini, Bailey Simonsson, Harley Smith-Shields, Tom Starling, Matt Timoko, Ryan Sutton, Sam Williams, Hudson Young.

Eels squad: Daniel Alvaro, Dylan Brown, Rhys Davies, Haze Dunster, David Gower, Clint Gutherson, Josh Hoffman, George Jennings, Michael Jennings, Oregon Kaufusi, Shaun Lane, Reed Mahoney, Tim Mannah, Tepai Moeroa, Mitch Moses, Marata Niukore, Ethan Parry, Junior Paulo, Jaeman Salmon, Peni Terepo, Stefano Utoikamanu.

David Polkinghorne covers the Canberra Raiders, local rugby league, Canberra Cavalry, racing and cycling, along with every other sport, for The Canberra Times.

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