Raiders veteran Sam Williams is out to prove he is more than just a stop-gap solution as halfback against the Broncos on Saturday, after the club finalised the release of homesick English halfback George Williams earlier this week.
Canberra officials are yet to open contract negotiations with off-contract Williams, who has filled in at number seven for his namesake in recent losses against Melbourne and the Sydney Roosters.
The 30-year-old is keen to stay at the Raiders, while recruitment boss Peter Mulholland offered a glowing endorsement of the local junior last week saying he was better than any of the young talent available for 2022.
Most of the more experienced halves on the open market who are off contract at the end of this year, the likes of Ash Taylor, Corey Norman, Anthony Milford and Shaun Johnson, are not wanted by the Raiders.
Williams knocked back English overtures in the summer, rejecting the chance to join his old club Wakefield Trinity in the Super League despite playing just one NRL match last season.
He spent the majority of 2020 on standby in the Raiders bubble, and was rewarded in the final round of the season when he captained a young side to victory over Cronulla.
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"You need to be winning games and putting your hand up to deserve the new contract," Williams said.
"I haven't been put through the ringers the last couple of years physically through games and that's something that I feel maybe has extended my career a little bit longer.
"You don't just fluke an opportunity to play in the NRL. It comes on the back of a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifices, I'm lucky I can come into training every day and enjoy being around the playing group and the coaching staff so it makes it a lot easier.
"Last year we didn't get to play very much rugby league at all, there was some reserve grade games at the start of the year and plenty of 18th man gigs as well.
"That sort of stuff you just keep doing it to try and give yourself the best opportunity to play and if an opportunity comes about because of it, you've just got to be ready to take it."
Saturday's crunch clash against the Broncos will be Williams' 98th in the NRL across a career spanning more than a decade.
It also marks the first time in almost 12 years Broncos veteran Karmichael Hunt has played an NRL match at Canberra Stadium.
"It's a testament to himself to be able to get him back to where he is, and to get him back in the premier rugby league competition in the world," Williams said.
"He's obviously a gifted athlete, he plays the game pretty tough, and the work he's put in over the preseason and the earlier rounds of the season, [in the] Queensland Cup, has obviously impressed the coaching staff."