Joe Picker
Raiders looking to retain

The Canberra Raiders will fight to retain forward Joe Picker amid interest in him from the cashed-up Newcastle Knights.

New Knights coach Wayne Bennett is reportedly looking for a strike back-rower to add to an already formidable pack when he takes over next year.

Picker’s contract expires at the end of this season.

Raiders chief executive Don Furner hoped the 23-year-old would resist the lucrative financial overtures from the Nathan Tinkler-backed Knights.

”We are working hard to keep him and have started negotiations,” Furner said.

”I know he is happy here so we just have to beat the Knights with other benefits, not just dollars.

”He is a big part of our future plans.”

Picker debuted for the Raiders in 2007 and has made 57 appearances in the top grade.

The Raiders have locked in the bulk of their star-studded forward pack on long-term deals.

Kiwi international Bronson Harrison, NSW and Australia forward Tom Learoyd-Lahrs and Dane Tilse have all extended their contracts until 2014.

Read more at the Canberra Times