2017 started off as a frustrating year for Kurt Baptiste after the Raiders Utility ruptured his Achillies towards the end of 2016.
The Papua New Guinea international applied himself to the rehabilitation program set to him by the Raiders staff and eventually made his return for Mounties against the Newcastle Knights in Cessnock to gain back match fitness.
Baptiste was named for the Raiders on the extended bench for their Rd 14 clash against the Penrith Panthers at Carrington Sports Ground in Bathurst and was a late call up to the side.
The Utility was immediately thrown into the action and was unlucky to have a try disallowed. Baptiste soon regained himself as he made a strong pass from dummy half to set up Croker who played in Cotric for a try in the corner.
For the Raiders Round 17 clash against the Cowboys at GIO Stadium, Baptiste was called into the starting side in place of the injured Josh Hodgson.
It was a baptism of fire as he starred down a rampaging Jason Taumalolo on a freezing Canberra night. Despite the lack of match fitness, Baptiste did well to play for 70 minutes in the tough conditions.
For the remainder of the season Baptiste managed to put together a string of solid cameo performances which he will look to build on for the 2018 season with the green machine. He will now turn his attention to the 2017 Rugby League World Cup where it is expected he will line up for the Kumuls in their campaign.