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Rugby League

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Raiders give NRL title hopes a kick-start

Canberra Raiders forward Elliott Whitehead believes the new halves pairing of George Williams and Jack Wighton will give the club's NRL title hopes a kick in the right direction.

Williams played 172 Super League matches and won two championships with Wigan before deciding to join the Raiders ahead of the 2020 NRL campaign.

Wighton resisted the urge to leave the Raiders by signing a new deal this week that will tie him to the club until the end of 2024.

Williams and Wighton are set to play a key role in the club's push to go from losing grand finalists to premiers this year.

Whitehead is excited about what the combination will produce.

"(Williams) is a smart player and he's got a great little kicking game on him," Whitehead said.

"So to go along with Jack Wighton with his long kicking game, I think he's going to really help us in that department and hopefully we get a lot more repeat sets this year and put a lot more pressure on people up in their half with his kicks."

The Raiders were beaten 14-8 by the Sydney Roosters in last year's grand final.

Whitehead says he has watched bits of that game, but his full focus is now on 2020.

"Some players prefer to watch it, some have probably not turned that TV back on," Whitehead said.

"For me, I've had little looks. But you can't change anything now. It's done.

"You just have to focus on this year, and hopefully we get there again come September and go one step further.

"We've got the belief and confidence in our squad that we can be there again come September, but that's a long way away.

"A good start is crucial for us to be there in September."

Whitehead and his Raiders teammates will be back in action on Friday night for the NRL Nines in Perth.

--End of article--

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