The Raiders remain in the hunt for Australian Kangaroos prop James Tamou, but coach Ricky Stuart has dismissed speculation Canberra is in the market to lure controversial representative utility Greg Bird for 2016.
Premiership-winners Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Alex Johnston are also among a list of high-profile backs the Raiders have been linked to as they continue to rebuild their roster.
Having signed Gold Coast Titans half Aidan Sezer and England representative backrower Elliott Whitehead in consecutive days, the Raiders have signalled their intention to secure as many as two more players in the coming weeks.
Stuart refused to declare which players were on his hit-list, but he shot down persistent rumours the Raiders were looking to sign Bird.
The pair are good friends, having worked together at Cronulla and in representative teams. Stuart admitted he had a chance meeting with Bird in Sydney two weeks ago, but said the 16-Test veteran gave no indication he was looking to leave the Gold Coast Titans.
"I asked him how he was going, he's really happy where he's at on the Gold Coast and it seemed to me as though he was very comfortable being there and wanted to stay put," Stuart said.
"I think he's a fabulous player, he's a great mate, but I'm happy for him that he's comfortable on the Gold Coast and I wish the best for him."
Tamou could be a different story. While the North Queensland Cowboys want to retain him, having made a successful return from neck surgery, it's understood the 26-year-old continues to look for a new club closer to his Sydney home.
Tamou's partner, Brittney McGlone, is pregnant with their second child and her parents live at Braidwood.
Stuart would not confirm interest in Tamou, but he has previously coached Tamou in the NSW Origin team and made a big play for him when he was coaching Parramatta.
The Raiders could struggle to fit Tamou into their salary cap, but representative prop David Shillington would need to take a big pay-cut if he is retained at Canberra next year.
"There's been no formal talks with James and his manager [Sam Ayoub]," Stuart said. "I've coached him, I think he's a great player and it's good to see him back after after a neck operation."
The Raiders are still looking for strike and experience in the backline.
If Johnston leaves the Rabbitohs, the Roosters are shaping as favourites to sign the NRL's 2014 Rookie of the Year. But that could aid Canberra's bid for Roosters centre Kenny-Dowell.
The signing of Sezer has cast doubts over the future of Junior Kangaroos halfback and Raiders junior Mitch Cornish at the club. It's understood Cornish has begun to explore options at other clubs, given the 22-year-old was dropped from the NRL squad last week and is off-contract at the end of the season.
Stuart denied Cornish was unwanted at Canberra or that the club had too many halves to accommodate him, given the Raiders now have Sezer, Sam Williams, Blake Austin, Josh McCrone and emerging teenager Lachlan Croker.
"Mitch has most definitely got a first grade career ahead of him, he's a wonderful player, it's just taken a little bit of time," Stuart said. "It doesn't surprise me where Mitch is at at the moment. I kept trying to tell people last year that Mitch wasn't ready last year. Mitch has had a bit of first grade, he'll get more first grade again this year, it's just taken a bit of time to get him comfortable and confident."
"I don't think we've got too many halves on the books. We'll sit down and talk to Mitch and discuss his future."
Stuart said Sezer was a strong addition.
"Aidan's a very valuable player in his attack, he's got good ability taking the ball to the line, he's got a great left foot kick and he's a great goalkicker. We're very fortunate he's accepted."
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