Canberra has formed a partnership with the Huddersfield Giants that will see some of the Super League club’s most promising youngsters develop under the Raiders’ system.
The Raiders will take a couple of under 20s players from England every year in hope of finding the next British phenom.
George Williams joins the Raiders, becoming the fifth English player on the clubs with Josh Hodgson, Elliot Whitehead John Bateman and Ryan Sutton.
Hodgson has become one of the world’s best hookers, taking on a co-captaincy position alongside Jarrod Croker and split the 2016 Mel Meninga Medal with Josh Papalii.
Bateman took out the honours of the league’s best second-rower in his first season with the Raiders, forming a threatening partnership with Whitehead.
Rivals of the Raiders have also begun scouting English based players, with Canterbury, South Sydney, Manly and Sydney all keeping close tabs on St Helens and England prop Luke Thompson.
Raiders chief Don Furner revealed he had also held talks with Wigan – the club Canberra had signed Bateman, Sutton and Williams – but opted for the Giants, who are currently coached by former Raider Simon Woolford.
‘‘It’s getting a look at them at a younger age. There’s a lot of untapped talent up there,’’ Furner said.
‘‘It will help them too. They’ll go back having some different types of training and playing in a really tough competition, so both clubs will benefit from it. Maybe looking at the Elliott Whiteheads and Josh Hodgsons when they’re 18 and 19 rather than 24-25.’’
Woolford is believed to have an umber of starlets in mind and will eventually come calling about a move.
The recruited imports will take be part of Canberra’s Jersey Flegg program, where they will train and play before returning to Huddersfield to continue their careers.