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Rivers of redemption have Hudson where he's longed to be

Hudson Young's football is finally doing the talking, not his past dates with the judiciary.

"And that's where I wanted to get to," Young told, feeling the waters of redemption washing away the 13 weeks he spent out of the game from two separate eye gouging charges.

"I'm not too worried about my past now. I'm comfortable with it. It was my mistake, and I owned them."

And now he's owning the Raiders middle with stints at lock and in the second row. In the 22-18 win over the Roosters last week Young played prop and bent the defensive line back a few times.

He made 23 runs for 163 metres, 35 tackles and three tackle breaks in 61 minutes of impressive work.

His form of late will have the Storm pack on high alert when they meet him in Friday night's preliminary final at Suncorp Stadium.

"I'm comfortable playing anywhere and I like having that utility role of playing back row or middle. In the long-run I'd prefer back row but we've got some world-class ones here so I'm happy to sit behind them and learn," Young said.

He attributes his improved form to confidence and more game time.

Papenhuyzen eager to face former junior teammate

"At the start of the year I was a little down on myself but now I'm getting lots of minutes and more experience my confidence is growing," Young said.

"Things feel like they're really starting to click as I find my feet."

Talk to his Raiders teammates and they apportion part of the reason for Young's rise to Sia Soliola's absence (facial fractures) after a head clash with Dragons prop Blake Lawrie in July.

Then there were four …

"Blokes like Hudson and Taps [Joe Tapine] really had to step up when Sia got hurt," skipper Jarrod Croker said.

"We asked them to do that because we couldn't let Papa [Josh Papalii] carry the load all by himself.

"To see Huddo come on and play some consistent footy is great to see. He's so precise in his game and his preparation and brings great leg speed for us," Croker said.

"He's a real nut job when it comes to preparing and it's paying off for him."

Tapine's face lights up at the mention of Young's name.

"Oh man, he is killing it!" he said.

Tapine knows what it's like to come out of the dark space of public glare. He had assault charges dropped in 2014 after an altercation outside a Newcastle hotel, when he was with the Knights.

"Hudson works so hard in the gym and every day at training. It's so good to see him playing so well because you know that's what he wants.

Raiders lock Joe Tapine.
Raiders lock Joe Tapine. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

"Those couple of mishaps with his eye gouges really hurt him. He missed the NRL finals last year so it was like a double punishment.

"I'm so happy for him to be with us this year. I love playing alongside him."

So now all that needs explaining is where the name Hudson came from.

The romantic in this scribe hoped his parents had a wonderful holiday in New York – maybe a cruise along the Hudson River that separates Manhattan from New Jersey.

But the truth is locked somewhere in the Greta-Branxton rugby league community in the Hunter Valley.

"I don't know where it's come from. I've asked mum a few times but I think dad used to play against a fella he liked and his name was Hudson."

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.