Raiders star Nick Cotric sets sights on Origin
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Raiders star Nick Cotric sets sights on Origin

Canberra Raiders rising star Nick Cotric's sights are set on breaking into the reigning State of Origin champions - now that he knows he's been picked.

But first the gun winger's focus is on the Raiders' gruelling pre-season and preparing to launch a bid to return the Green Machine to the NRL finals.

Raiders winger Nick Cotric has set his sights on playing Origin.

Raiders winger Nick Cotric has set his sights on playing Origin.Credit:Nathan Hopkins

NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler named Cotric in his extended training squad on Friday, having made him 19th man for Origin I this year.

Fittler opted to go with Tom Trbojevic and Josh Addo-Carr on the wings instead.

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Now the 20-year-old wants to force his way into the team and will get his next chance to impress Fittler at a training camp in December.

Cotric only found out he'd been picked when asked about it out while appearing with a couple of his Raiders teammates at Jim Murphy's 40th birthday celebrations in Fyshwick on Saturday.

"That will be a big goal of mine this year to make the Origin side, but I'm just focussing on the Raiders and getting a good pre-season under my belt," Cotric said.

"I'll just work hard this pre-season and improve on the little things, get better and get ready for the season with the Raiders."

Cotric was named in the Junior Kangaroos squad to play the Junior Kiwis back in October, but he sat out due to a back problem.

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He had been looking forward to playing alongside Raiders teammate Emre Guler, but revealed he'd had a stress fracture in his back last year and didn't want to risk further injury.

Cotric played for the Prime Minister's XIII against Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby and loved every minute of it.

They're further representative carrots dragging him along.

"I had an issue with my lower back, just tweaked it and it was a bit painful," Cotric said.

"I'd love to play, I wish my lower back wasn't sore, it would've been so fun to play with Emre and all the boys I used to play with back in the day.

"I had a lower back fracture last year and I just gave it a rest, took a couple of weeks off."

Cotric's started the pre-season mainly training on the wing, but has also spent a bit of time at centre.

He's played most of his 48 NRL games on the wing - and scored all of his 28 tries there - but was given a taste of fullback and centre this year.

"I've just been wing at the moment, I've been switching in centres sometimes, but more wing," Cotric said.

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"We've just been doing running the first couple of weeks so we'll see what happens."

Right wing Jordan Rapana (shoulder) is expected to be out until about round 11-14 and the Raiders are looking into whether they can get any salary cap relief to bring in cover for him.

In the meantime, Cotric said Michael Oldfield has already staked his claim to fill Rapana's electric boots.

"Rapa's out until round 11 or whatever with his shoulder. We've got a few outside backs training hard," he said.

"Oldie's been training well. He'll probably slip right in there. He did a great job for us last year when Rapa was injured.

"Oldie's a great player, he's experienced too, so he'll fit right in."

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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