SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 24: Ashley Taylor of the Titans kicks the ball in the warm up during the round 11 NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Gold Coast Titans at Lottoland on May 24, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

The Canberra Raiders need a new halfback if they are to go to the next level in 2022.

George Williams' departure left the club in all sorts of trouble throughout 2021, and while some will say it's slim pickings, the Raiders have some excellent options off-contract or likely to be available.

The ninth-placed finish is something which simply can't be repeated for Ricky Stuart's side.

They have all the tools to be back in the race for a top-four, or if not, at the very least, a top-eight spot in 2022. A strong forward pack led by representative prop Josh Papalii, the dream team at dummy half, former Dally M medalist Jack Wighton and a crop of young outside backs who have committed to the club long-term.

But unless they fix their issues in the halves, they can forget about a resurgence.

Here are the top five options to head to the nation's capital.

Ashley Taylor

The outgoing Gold Coast Titans' halfback is on the market and looking for a new team.

The 26-year-old has been down on form in recent years, but still offers huge potential. He may be the leading candidate for the vacant halves position in Canberra, due to the high level football he is capable of playing.

He can play either halfback or five-eighth, which will add to the teams versatility and depth. The Raiders may need to rejuvenate Taylor but the upside he has is enormous.

Luke Brooks

Another great option to join Jack Wighton in the halves is the talented Luke Brooks.

Brooks is not officially released from the West Tigers, but the half-back looks likely to depart. Brooks has good passing skills and possesses a sound kicking game. He also is quite young at just 26 and could just have his best football ahead of him. He should mix well with the bigger more physical Wighton, who needs a crafty halves partner to complement his game. Brooks may be the perfect fit.

Matt Frawley

Lachlan Lewis

The young half is coming off-contract after being sacked by the Canterbury Bulldogs following an off-field incident.

Lewis comes to a new team with plenty of baggage. But Raiders coach Ricky Stuart is renowned for being able to handle difficult personalities.

If he can put aside his past behaviours, the Raiders may look to bring in the immensely talented Lewis. He is a nice size at nearly 190cm but has a great turn of speed and looks to be a natural half.

He has plenty of upside and is still in the early stages of his NRL career. This could be a story of redemption that the Raiders might benefit from.

Tyrone May

Another good option would be the signing of off-contract half Tyrone May.

May is a victim of circumstance more than anything with the emergence of Penrith halves pairing of Nathan Cleary and Jerome Luai.

He will look for greater opportunity to showcase his skillset. He clearly knows how to play well at NRL level, after featuring in 19 games in 2021.

The Penrith junior has a opportunity to lead his own team alongside Jack wighton. He is somewhat out of favour at the Panthers and looks to be a good option for the Canberra halves role.

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