'He's been a big mentor to me': CNK pays homage to RTS

He's been labelled one of the best success stories of the 2019 Telstra Premiership season but Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad still checks the team list every week to make sure his name is there.

The 23-year-old Raiders fullback returned to his home town Auckland on Monday to prepare for his first outing against his former club in a vital clash that could knock the Warriors out of finals contention.

It was the Warriors who granted Nicoll-Klokstad a release late last season to link with the Green Machine, who are close to cementing a top-four spot.

The Cook Islands international declared he "wasn't there for a holiday" and has been been eagerly anticipating the clash with the Warriors ever since he arrived in Canberra.

"I thought 'I really hope I get to play round 20 against the Warriors, that would be cool as'," Nicoll-Klokstad said ahead of Friday night's showdown.

"I thought 20 rounds should be enough to get into the team. To play as many games as I have this year I'm so blessed and lucky to be in this position.

"I've been looking forward to this trip not just for New Zealand but I was bantering on with the boys saying I'm going to spend every minute with them. It's been a funny one, I really can't believe I'm in the position I'm in."

Nicoll-Klokstad left the Warriors in February and had just a month to try and cement a spot after Jack Wighton's well-publicised move from fullback to five-eighth.

"It's crazy, I was telling my partner let's settle down and focus on this year [at the Warriors]," he explained.

"The very next day I got a message saying there's an opportunity here [at Canberra]. There wasn't really hesitation. When they said there was an opportunity I was keen. It was just about trying to sort something out and luckily we were able to do that.

"The first person I went to was Roger [Tuivasa-Sheck] and said, 'Hey bro, there's a massive opportunity and I want to leave'. He was stoked for me and wished me the best. He was really good in that regard."

Nicoll-Klokstad said Tuivasa-Sheck had been enormous for his career with the apprentice now set for a clash with the reigning Dally M medallist.

"I doubt I would be the fullback I am without him. He's been such a big mentor to me and a really great role model on and off the field," Nicoll-Klokstad said.

"His professionalism and how he conducts himself, he's a true gentleman of rugby league. If I could be one percent of what he is I'd be happy with that."

Nicoll-Klokstad is no doubt on the radar of rival clubs but is expected to pen a new deal with the Raiders in coming weeks.

"Being here long-term is definitely on the cards," he said.

"I hope we get to a solution and both parties can agree. It's not often I'm in this position."