Raiders rookie of the year from 2013 Paul Vaughan said he wants to earn his place in the Raiders 17 this season and said its now the business end of the pre-season and he’ll have to work his way into the trial teams and push his claim for selection in round one.
After getting his chance through injury last year Vaughan went on to be one of the Raiders best forwards, but said his desire to prove himself to his team mates is what drives him for bigger things in 2014.
“I was lucky enough to get my chance last year but it was through injury, so I’d like to start in the 17 this year on merit and work my way into the NRL squad and stay there,” Vaughan said. “I want to be there not through injury but because I deserve it and I’m aiming to play the whole year and I have some high goals I’d like to achieve.”
One of those goals has been to make an impact in the trials for the new look coaching staff headed by Ricky Stuart and Vaughan said it will be tough, as his team mates have the jump on him after his return from the World Cup where he represented Italy.
“It’s my first few weeks of pre-season so I’m working into it well now but you can see how big it’s been for the boys as they are really fit and I think we’ll be ready to go for the trial,” he said. “It’s been tough the last couple of sessions but we’ve got a tough start to the season and we have to get used to it. The rest of the squad is looking fit and ready and competition for spots in the trials will be massive.”
Sandwiched in between the trial matches is the Auckland nines tournament and Vaughan said he’d relish the opportunity to be a part of it, even if he gives away some speed and agility to some of his opponents.
“I’d like to go over there, I think it would be a big challenge and I’m not sure how I’d go fitness wise as it will be pretty quick, but if I get my shot I’d be up for it as I like to test myself,” he said. “It’s a new competition and I’d like to be part of it, there’s been plenty of hype and it will be fun to be a part of.”
Vaughan was a standout for Italy in the World Cup and will be looking to continue this form into the 2014 season.