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Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.

What makes Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad one of the best fullbacks in the NRL this season cannot be seen in the 296 run metres he racked up against the Bulldogs last weekend.

Nor can it be measured in the five tackle breaks or the three diffused bombs. But it can be seen in the effort to make the tackle that sealed the match in the dying moments of the game.

The extra effort came after Nicoll-Klokstad made a 70-metre break which could have put the result on ice in a different way for the Canberra Raiders.

"I was pretty gassed after that run and there was only a few minutes left after that and I just remember saying to myself 'I don't want to get back on that bus and drive all the way home with the loss'," he said.

"So, it was a relief to get the ball back for the last 30 seconds knowing we got the win. The emotions got the best of us, we were quite happy about it."

A whirlwind pre-season and now the first dozen weeks of the season still seem surreal to Nicoll-Klokstad, who has been labelled one of the best buys of 2019.

"It's quite humbling, I've said it before, but I just have to give glory to God for what's happened over the last few months," he said.

"How it's all happened and how it's fallen into place, it keeps me humble and level-headed and I just want to do the best I can for the team."

Match Highlights: Bulldogs v Raiders

Apart from the two competition points, the return of John Bateman was the other highlight for the Green Machine on Saturday.

Bateman was only medically cleared to play 48 hours before kick-off, but the 25-year-old new his surgically repaired cheekbone was up to the task of football early in the contest with the Bulldogs.  

"I watched the boys the last couple of weeks and there was a couple of close games," Bateman said.

"I knew I felt pretty decent, so I just wanted to give Ricky [coach Ricky Stuart] a call and tell him I'd be ready to roll when I got back.

"I don't think he believed me at the time to be honest, he was just like 'yeah whatever', but I said make sure you have the specialist booked for when I get back because I wasn't supposed to see him until this week.  

"First tackle I got hit straight in the eye, so after about five seconds of the game

"But then I knew straight away is was going to be fine so that more of less sealed it [that it was fine]."

Despite Bateman's return the Raiders will be forced to reshuffle their side for their game against the Wests Tigers on Saturday.

Raiders John Bateman and Sebastian Kris.
Raiders John Bateman and Sebastian Kris. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

Corey Horsburgh (fractured elbow) is still to miss two or three weeks, Hudson Young was suspended for five weeks after pleading guilty to a dangerous contact charge on Bulldogs prop Aiden Tolman.

Canberra will have their fingers crossed that State of Origin stars Josh Papalii, Jack Wighton and Nick Cotric will make it through unscathed in game one on Wednesday night.

"I might have to ring a few mates and see if they fancy a game of rugby," Bateman joked of the side's selection issues.

"But it's part and parcel of the game, you get injuries and guys away from the team, there isn't much we can do about that.

"When I came here in the pre-season I could see we had really good depth and the young guys and knew they would come through and they're going out there and doing their job really well."

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.