Former Raiders' public enemy No.1 Ennis now a Canberra consultant
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Former Raiders' public enemy No.1 Ennis now a Canberra consultant

The first thing Ricky Stuart did when Michael Ennis reported for his first day of coaching at the Raiders was walk him to the middle of the training paddock and teach him the Viking Clap.

Ennis became Public Enemy No. 1 in the nation's capital in week one of the 2016 NRL finals when Cronulla caused a boilover and the pesky No. 9 appeared to mock the Canberra faithful and their pre-match call to arms.

Stuart was unimpressed and slammed Ennis at the time for being "disrespectful" and said "if my players were as disrespectful towards opposition fans after the game I’d bring them in and haul them over the coals".

But a day after Origin rivals Latrell Mitchell and Will Chambers embraced in Melbourne, there was nothing but love between Ennis and Stuart.

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Despite the incident three years ago, Stuart and Ennis have remained in regular contact and have a healthy respect for each other. Stuart coached the rep hooker at Origin level.

And that is why Stuart was more than comfortable picking up the phone and asking Ennis if he would be interested in assisting his side with their ruck and attack.

Divisive: Luke Lewis and Michael Ennis celebrate after beating the Raiders in a semi-final in 2016, after which Ennis mockingly performed the viking clap in front of Canberra fans.

Divisive: Luke Lewis and Michael Ennis celebrate after beating the Raiders in a semi-final in 2016, after which Ennis mockingly performed the viking clap in front of Canberra fans.Credit:AAP

"I went out to the middle and tried to teach him how to do the Viking Clap,'' Stuart quipped to The Herald. "I've spoken to him regularly.

"He's got a wonderful footy brain, he's very passionate about the game, and I want to leave no stone unturned. I want him to help me out with some of our ruck attack, I want to have some outside eyes looking in, and I don't want to miss anything.

"Last year we showed we weren't far away, and yet I believe we've got a lot more improvement in us than last year."

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Tough Englishman Josh Hodgson is arguably in the top two or three hookers in the game, but Stuart pointed out "Roger Federer has a coach", and one of the briefs for Ennis will be to "keep challenging Josh".

Ennis, who was working with Shane Flanagan at Cronulla while juggling his media commitments, will head to Canberra once a week.

He has emerged one of the stars on TV for his expert analysis and forthright opinions. Fox Sports management were happy to spare him sideline duties the first time he returned to Canberra after the Viking Clap drama.

Jack Wighton continues to impress at five-eighth while Michael Oldfield, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Nick Cotric and Brad Abbey all in the mix for the vacated fullback position.

The Raiders will head to St Marys, in Sydney's west, for a trial against Parramatta on Friday night.

Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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