Josh Hodgson

Ricky Stuart has turned to England to ignite Canberra’s recruitment, with the Raiders close to finalising deals with St Helens centre Iosia Soliola and Hull KR hooker Josh Hodgson.

After missing out on several big-name NRL players, Canberra look to have the UK Super League pair in their keeping for 2015, and the club is also expected to welcome Dragons back-rower Joel Thompson home next season.

Stuart’s relationship with Soliola goes back to 2005, when he gave the Marcellin College graduate his NRL debut in the Roosters’ three-quarter line.

A Raiders spokesman confirmed the club had been in talks with both players, but said any deals were yet to be finalised.