The Canberra Raiders want Ryan James to be a leader of their pack. And in the process it might just help the Gold Coast Titans captain break through for his State of Origin debut.
A two-year contract has been finalised, with James' signature all that's required to seal the deal.
Raiders recruitment boss Peter Mulholland said James showed great faith in the Green Machine by choosing Canberra.
He also felt James' arrival would take some of the load off Josh Papalii's broad shoulders in leading a young forward pack.
James has also come at a lower salary to help a team achieve success.
"We're pleased to have a player of his experience on board. We've got a relatively young pack of forwards and just need that young leader," Mulholland said.
"Probably the most impressive thing is he's a quality player who's taken a bit of leap faith in his own ability and a leap of faith in the Raiders in that he's signed for a considerable amount less than what he could've got elsewhere.
"Albeit he's had that couple of years with injuries, which with a quality player can add time to their career as well. Really happy with it."
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James was on the verge of bursting into the NSW Blues side before he underwent two knee reconstructions.
He was 18th man in 2018, before injury meant he's only played six games in the past season and a half.
If the 29-year-old plays well in lime green then he could return to the Origin mix.
"It would be beneficial for us if he does," Mulholland said.
"That's a byproduct of his form. Any team that's competitive in the top end of the table is always going to give their players an opportunity [to play Origin] because people are constantly looking at them.
"That wasn't first and foremost in the mind, but probably a byproduct of performance."
In another boost for the Green Machine, the Queensland government has finally granted Josh Papalii and Joe Tapine's exemptions from having the flu shot on medical grounds.
It allows the pair to play the Cowboys on Saturday.
NRL ROUND 12
Saturday: Canberra Raiders v North Queensland Cowboys at Townsville, 5.30pm.
Raiders team list: 1. Jordan Rapana, 2. Semi Valemei, 3. Jarrod Croker (c), 4. Curtis Scott, 5. Nick Cotric, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. George Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Siliva Havili, 10. Dunamis Lui, 11. John Bateman, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Hudson Young. Interchange: 14. Tom Starling, 15. Joe Tapine, 16. Ryan Sutton, 17. Corey Harawira-Naera. Reserves: 18. Sam Williams, 19. Harley Smith-Shields, 20. Kai O'Donnell, 21. Matt Frawley.
Cowboys team list: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Justin O'Neill, 4. Connelly Lemuelu, 5. Murray Taulagi, 6. Daejarn Asi, 7. Jake Clifford, 8. Josh McGuire, 9. Reece Robson, 10. Jordan McLean, 11. Shane Wright, 12. Coen Hess, 13. Jason Taumalolo (c). Interchange: 14. Mitch Dunn, 15. Tom Gilbert,16. Gavin Cooper, 17. Francis Molo. Reserves: 18. John Asiata, 19. Ben Hampton, 20. Esan Marsters, 21. Jake Granville.