Season Review: Kurt Baptiste
Five Key Stats
Games | 24
Tries | 3
Dummy Half Runs | 39
Dummy Half Run Metres | 371
Passes | 717
Best Match of the Season
Round 18 | Raiders 26 defeated Cowboys 12
Playing 48 minutes off the bench, Baptiste provided a huge spark for the Raiders as they held off the defending premiers. Baptiste ran for a season-high 81 metres, made 23 tackles and went close to scoring on two occasions as he tormented the Cowboys out of dummy half.
Kurt Baptiste’s career continued on an upward trajectory in 2016, playing a career-high 24 matches and providing the Raiders with plenty of energy and spark off the bench.
The arrival of Adam Clydsdale in pre-season meant there was plenty of competition for Baptiste to secure the bench Hooker spot behind incumbent Josh Hodgson. Relishing the challenge, Baptiste secured the bench spot and began to push for more minutes on the field.
Consistently playing 20-30 minutes off the bench, Baptiste relegated Hodgson to more of a middle/lock role when he took to the field. The situation worked well for the Raiders, and looks likely to be repeated again in 2017.
Baptiste made his only start of the season against the Warriors in Round 11, boosting the Green Machine to a 38-12 victory.
The lowlight of Baptiste's season occurred in Round 18, with a foot injury in the final moments of the Raiders victory over the Cowboys sidelining him for a month.
There was easing back into it for Baptiste when he made his return in Round 23, playing 23 minutes against the Melbourne Storm in one of the Raiders best victories of the season.
Baptiste played in all three of the Raiders finals matches, taking on added responsibilities when Hodgson left the field early with an ankle injury in the qualifying final against the Sharks.
A personal highlight for Baptiste was making his debut for the Papua New Guinea Kumuls earlier in the year. Playing alongside teammate Kato Ottio, Baptiste was influential for the Kumuls as they defeated Fiji 24-22.
Off-season is already treating Baptiste well, having recently married partner Chloe, and embarking on a honeymoon around the United States.
Baptiste is currently negotiating a contract extension with the Raiders.