Season Review: Clay Priest

Five Key Stats

Games | 14
Running Metres | 775
Hit-ups | 72
Tackles | 201
Effective Tackle Percentage | 92% 

Best Match of the Season

Round 8 | Raiders 60 defeated Tigers 6

Priest made a huge impact in his debut against the Tigers in Round 8. Despite only playing the final 27 minutes of the match, Priest ran for 98 metres and made 12 tackles without a miss. 

Summary

Never in his wildest dreams did Clay Priest imagine he would play 14 NRL games in 2016. 

Priest was plucked from the Mounties and handed a full-time Raiders deal after he made an impressive start to the season for the Raiders feeder side. The contract was a shock for Priest, who had been working full-time in Western Sydney fixing powerlines. 

With the Raiders in a minor form slump leading into Round Eight's match against the Tigers, coach Ricky Stuart opted to hand Priest his first-grade debut in a huge team selection surprise.  

The move paid off and Priest was strong in the Raiders thrashing of the Tigers, fitting in seamlessly with the Raiders forward pack.

Apart from a short stint back at Mounties midway through the season, Priest was a regular in the Raiders side for the rest of the season. 

While 2016 was an overriding success for Priest, it did finish in awful circumstances, when he slipped during a routine training session and broke his ankle. The injury brought an end to Priest's season, missing the last two matches against the Panthers and Storm. 

Priest was rewarded for his tremendous first season at the club by winning the Rookie of the Year at the Meninga Medal.