AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 02: Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad of the Raiders looks on during the round 20 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Canberra Raiders at Mt Smart Stadium on August 02, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has undoubtedly been the signing of the season thanks to his impact on the team as well as the dirt-cheap price the Raiders brought him in for.

He has proven to be a revelation in the fullback jersey for Ricky Stuart’s men since his pre-season switch from the Warriors.

While the Raiders would have been delighted with his substantial contribution this year having signed him on a meagre $130,000 per season two-year deal, they will be even more delighted with the price they have managed to keep the Cook Islands international for.

With rumours circulating that Nicoll-Klokstad could demand as much as $500,000 on the open market, somehow the capital club have managed to tie the evasive fullback down until 2023 on a deal worth roughly $330,000 per year.

For context, Nicoll-Klokstad only has two fewer try involvements (combined tries and try assists) than the man who stood in his way at the Warriors, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, and will earn $570,000 less per year.

While he netted a respectable seven tries from as many appearances across his two-year stint in the Warriors first-grade squad, his path to consistent first-grade was blocked by the impressive back three of Fusitu’a, Maumalo, and Tuivasa-Sheck, and not a whole lot was expected of the ex-warrior when he joined the Raiders.

However, that is why I am where I am, and why Peter Mulholland is running the recruitment show in Canberra. Because he can see what others can’t.

And boy did he get this one right, with the mild-mannered Auckland native going onto register the most kick return metres in the NRL, 4th most run metres, 3rd most runs and 2nd most post-contact metres amongst fullbacks. Not bad for a bloke who was running around in the NSW Cup last year.

While many have regarded the Raiders as pioneers in the NRL recruitment market for their recent forays into the Super League, this time the Raiders have proven themselves to be equally astute in the local market.

And for the Raiders recruitment and retention team to lock in a player of such influence to a four-year deal in the prime of his career for the same amount of money that the Sea Eagles pays Daly Cherry-Evans annually is almost un-fathomable. It is a testament to the turnaround across all facets of the club that has occurred in recent years.

2 COMMENTS

  1. As a Warriors support I think almost everyone here in NZ knew CNK was capable of playing the way he is. In the limited games he played for the Warriors he was always pretty good and worked his butt off. But as you say the current back 3 were pretty good and that didn’t give CNK much opportunities.
    I think most Warriors supporters are glad he got given a good opportunity and has played great ever since. But what surprises me is how cheap he has resigned for (330k), especially when you think Gutho recently resigned for about 800k. He could’ve gone for about 500/600k.

    Rumour also has is Jordan Rapana is looking at leaving the Raiders and going off to play rugby in Japan. Think that could potentially be a good thing for the Raiders, because at 30 he was probably about to slowly get worse so getting him off the books free up a good amount of cap space for the club. You’d almost think with George Williams and Jack Wighton the halves, that Aiden Sezer could also leave and keep Sam Williams as back up to free up more cap space then the Raiders could go after a big name forward to add to the pack. Whitehead and Bateman have the backrow sorted so possibly a prop to pair with Pappalii.

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