NRL Preliminary Final - Broncos v Warriors
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Ezra Mam of the Broncos celebrates with team mates after scoring a try during the NRL Preliminary Final match between Brisbane Broncos and New Zealand Warriors at Suncorp Stadium on September 23, 2023 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

The Canberra Raiders have long-term security in a number of key players, but still need additions to challenge for a premiership.

That much became evident in 2023.

The team finished in the top eight and showed off plenty of fighting qualities under Ricky Stuart, who also recently extended his contract, but often lacked the killer punch in attack.

With some player turnover likely in the coming years, and big questions over their halves and juniors, 2025 could be something of a moving year for the Raiders.

In this series, Zero Tackle are running the rule over every club and who they should be targetting when a new crop of players become available tpo negotiate with on November 1 ahead of their contracts expiring at the end of 2024.

Current 2025 squad

Zane Dunford, Emre Guler, Corey Harawira-Naera, Albert Hopoate, Corey Horsburgh, Sebastian Kris, Danny Levi, Simi Sasagi, Xavier Savage, Tom Starling, Chevy Stewart, Ethan Strange, Joseph Tapine, Matthew Timoko, Kaeo Weekes, Hudson Young

Current 2025 best 17

1. Chevy Stewart
2. Albert Hopoate
3. Sebastian Kris
4. Matthew Timoko
5. Xavier Savage
6. Kaeo Weekes
7. Ethan Strange
8. Joseph Tapine
9. Tom Starling
10. Emre Guler
11. Hudson Young
12. Corey Harawira-Naera
13. Corey Horsburgh
14. Simi Sasagi
15. Danny Levi
16. Zane Dunford
17. No player signed.

Players off-contract at end of 2024

Nick Cotric, Jamal Fogarty, Peter Hola, Ata Mariota, Trey Mooney, Josh Papalii (mutual option) Jordan Rapana, Pasami Saulo, James Schiller, Harley Smith-Shields, Elliott Whitehead, Zac Woolford

EVERY PLAYER OFF-CONTRACT AT THE END OF 2024

Other clubs
» Brisbane Broncos

Here are five players from outside the club the Raiders should target for 2025.

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1. Ezra Mam

The Raiders are likely to need an established five-eighth in 2025. There are some good options on the market too, and who they wind up chasing may well depend on what happens with their halfback spot.

If it's an experienced figure who can control the kicking game - like the re-signing of Jamal Fogarty which looks increasingly likely - then Ezra Mam is their go-to.

If it's a young halfback, then a player like Tom Dearden or even Adam Doueihi could indeed be the way to go.

Kaeo Weekes may yet surprise too in the number six - he certainly has the talent to lock down a position in Canberra's spine, whether that be the six or one. Simi Sasagi is another strong signing.

But there are simply too many ifs, and that means that in a few days time, the Raiders must get on the front foot as they look to replace Jack Wighton.

They have failed to do it for 2024, but can't afford to go two seasons in that direction. Ezra Mam is the game's best five-eighth, and the fact he hasn't re-signed yet suggests he might have a look at the open market.

The Raiders have the money to pull off a move like this and must make a play.

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