Oldfield's incredible try-scoring effort
Journeyman Raiders winger Michael Oldfield achieved a rare feat when he scored a try in his club debut last Saturday and while he hopes it leads to further opportunities, is under no illusions as to where he stands in the Canberra backline pecking order.
Currently, Oldfield's last four NRL appearances are spread across three teams over two years with tries for each club. For good measure, each of those three tries have been scored for, or against, the Rabbitohs.
He played four games for the Bunnies in 2016, scoring a try in the first and third of those before joining the Panthers this year. His only start netted a try back in Round 6 against former club Souths before a mid-year switch to the nation's capital saw him called up on the weekend for the suspended Jordan Rapana, scoring another try in the 32-16 win, once again against the Rabbitohs.
Speaking to NRL.com after Saturday's game, Oldfield said a back-line log-jam at Penrith and a lack of depth in the outside backs at Canberra swayed him to leave his family base in Sydney and head south-west for greater opportunities, despite knowing he was still sure to be considered a back-up rather than top-line selection.
"Coming down here was a big move for me; I was just chasing an opportunity and 'Sticky' [Stuart] has been honest with me," Oldfield said.
"It was unlucky for 'Rapa' with the suspension but I'm happy to have played and put my hand up. Hopefully I did a good enough job to be in Sticky's mind going forward. Obviously Raps will come back next week. I'm happy just to be there when needed.
"You never know when you're going to get an opportunity. Moving down here, I wasn't expecting to play this early but it happened and I just had to take the opportunity as it came. I think I've done that."
The move to the Green Machine was initiated by the Raiders, Oldfield said, as they looked to shore up their three-quarter line.
"We were lacking in depth in the outside backs and obviously I wasn't getting much opportunity at Penrith. They had a very versatile squad and a lot of depth so I wasn't getting a run there," he said.
"An opportunity came up here. Stick's been honest from the start about where I sat in the squad. An opportunity has presented itself and I was lucky enough to play [against Souths].
"It's a fair way from Sydney and from the family and I didn't want to move and find out I'm sitting in the ranks again. It's been a good move for me and I'm happy with it."
The added security of being on contract for 2018 also sweetened the deal for the two-time Tongan international.
"Having that added security is good for the mindset going into next year," he said.
"Everyone wants that starting position and they're not handed out, they're not just given to you. I've come into a squad where people have solidified their spots and that's just the way it is, I just have to do my best."
This article first appeared on nrl.com