Raiders’ Strange makes Canberra home until 2028

Alex Mitchell |

Teen five eighth Ethan Strange has locked in a long-term deal with the Canberra Raiders.
Teen five eighth Ethan Strange has locked in a long-term deal with the Canberra Raiders.

The future of Canberra’s NRL spine is looking bright after young gun Ethan Strange penned a long-term contract extension with the Green Machine.

The 19-year-old, who won the club’s vacant No.6 jersey after Jack Wighton’s off-season departure, is now tied with the club until the end of 2028 after greatly impressing in his first month in the side.

His signature ends any speculation he could be tempted by a move to the Sydney Roosters, where his father John coaches the NRLW side in which his sister Jasmin plays.

“It’s become home, and I’ve got a new family down here now so I’m very excited for what the future holds,” Strange said.

“I definitely feel (moving away from family) has been worth it. If you want to be successful, you need to make sacrifices and I love it here.

“I love…the faith that all the coaching staff and the boys have shown me. I’m a very loyal person and this is a loyal club so I feel like it’s a decision that felt right.”

Strange burst onto the scene with a three-try, two-assist display for NSW in last season’s Under-19 State of Origin, but had an NRL debut to forget later in the campaign with his Raiders belted 48-2 by Melbourne.

He and recruit Kaeo Weekes were the two leading candidates to start at five-eighth in pre-season but Strange has since made the jersey his own.

He paid tribute to the coaching of Ricky Stuart and the leadership of halves partner Jamal Fogarty for allowing him the freedom to find his feet at the top level.

“(Stuart) has made it just feel like footy has (for) my whole life to be honest … just go out there and run the ball and have fun with your mates,” he said.

Raiders management will turn their attention to locking down wing speedster James Schiller and emerging prop Trey Mooney, with both out of contract at the end of the season and currently available on the open market.

Veteran back Jordan Rapana is also out of contract.