The Canberra Raiders have received some positive news on the eve of the World Cup, with second rower and English international Elliott Whitehead agreeing to extend his contract with the club until the end of the 2020 season.
Whitehead is currently on contract with the Green Machine until the end of 2018, with the two-year extension giving him another three seasons in Canberra.
Whitehead said he had no desire to leave Canberra and is excited about where the team is heading.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time in Canberra and I didn’t want to go anywhere else. We’re building something special and I want to be a part of that,” Whitehead said. “Canberra as a city is great place to live and come to work each day. I love the laid-back atmosphere of the city and it’s been easy for me to settle in here.”
Whitehead said he knows the Raiders have the squad which can challenge any team in the NRL and said it’s up to the players to make sure they improve and continue to grow as a group.
“We’ve obviously got to improve on what we did last season but we know we have the talent in the group to do this. We can sometimes be a bit unpredictable for other teams which can be a good thing, but we also need to make sure that we continue to play the footy that suits us.”
During his two seasons in Canberra Whitehead has managed to play a staggering 50 matches, missing only one game in 2017 due to suspension and none during 2016. His versatility to play many positions has been used in his time in Canberra and Whitehead said he’s happy to continue that role if required.
“It’s been a good challenge having to shift around a bit but I’d prefer to play backrow if it’s possible. I’m not sure what Ricky has planned for me next year and I’ll play anywhere if he believes it’s the best for the team, I just want to be on the field in the green jersey.”
With the World Cup about to kick-off Whitehead said it’s another chance for him to evolve as a player and he’s looking forward to England being successful, while playing alongside his Raiders team mate Josh Hodgson.
“I think it’s going to be a great experience for me and I really believe we have a squad which can go deep into the tournament,” he said. “Playing for England is a huge honour and I’m learning plenty every day from my team mates. It’s also great to have Hodgy in camp with me and we know each other’s games very well which will hopefully give us an advantage.”
Raiders CEO Don Furner said Whitehead continued to be impressive both on and off the field for the club and his re-signing continued the clubs push to retain their roster.
“We’re very fortunate to have a player like Elliott at our club and what he’s achieved in his two seasons in the NRL has been remarkable,” Furner said. “He sets a great example for his team mates on and off the field and this was highlighted when he received the Coaches award on Meninga Medal night.
“The clubs excited about his re-signing and it continues our push to lock up the core playing group into the future.”