Throughout the 2020 season, the Raiders had outstanding performers across the park. Whether they were international stars or rookies coming into the team, each of them played a significant role in the season just gone.
In this series, we’ll look at each position and each of the players who played there for the Green Machine as we review the 2020 season.
We’ll begin the review looking at the fullback position.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad - 21 games, seven tries
Jordan Rapana - one game
Adam Cook - one game
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad built upon his debut season with the Raiders in style as his ball playing, support running and effectiveness in defence all continued to grow.
However, it was a tough start to the season for Nicoll-Klokstad as he failed an HIA in the first half in round one against the Titans which meant that Bailey Simonsson moved to fullback for the remainder of the game.
CNK returned to the field the following week and continued to be a strong performer as he averaged 225 running metres over the following seven rounds.
A gruesome finger injury sustained in round 11 against the Rabbitohs saw Nicoll-Klokstad miss the following game against the Cowboys, which saw Jordan Rapana deputise at fullback.
The veteran played an important role in that fixture as he made 193 running meters.
After recovering from his finger injury, Nicoll-Klokstad returned in round 13 against the Panthers with great effect scoring two tries in the process.
As the Raiders attack started to click, Nicoll-Klokstad continued to build his combinations with both halves before being rested in the final round of the regular season.
Rookie fullback Adam Cook was given the chance to wear the number one jersey against the Sharks and certainly didn’t look out of place with his defensive positioning, calm demeanour at the back and some excellent kick-offs from the tee which caused the Sharks problems.
Rested and ready for finals, Nicoll-Klokstad returned to the team and put in a particularly impressive performance against the Sydney Roosters in the second week of finals.
The Big Matches
Round 12 – Raiders 14 d Cowboys 12
With Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad missing from this match due to a finger injury, veteran outside back Jordan Rapana was called upon to play his first game at fullback since Round 11, 2015.
Although it was a game where the Raiders weren’t at their best, the same couldn’t be said for Rapana as he produced a stellar performance.
Rapana accrued the most running meters of any Raiders player with almost 200 meters to his name and also made 80 post contact meters and four tackle breaks during the match.
Round 13 – Panthers 28 d Raiders 12
After recovering from injury, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad resumed his position at fullback and was tested early with a number of high balls going his way.
Charnze was up for the challenge as he defused four bombs as Penrith impressed in the first half.
In the second half, Nicoll-Klokstad scored the Raiders two tries with his grit and determination carrying him over the line.
His running throughout the game was impressive, as he ran a mammoth 257 metres, with two line breaks and nine tackle breaks.
Semi Final – Raiders 22 d Roosters 18
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has scored plenty of important tries in his two years at the Raiders but in this match, what proved to be more important was his ability to stop them.
Late in the first half, the Raiders fullback rushed across the field to wrap up Brett Morris ball and all to stop the winger scoring the Roosters first try for the match.
Midway through the second half, with only four points separating the sides, Nicoll-Klokstad saved the day once again as he bundled Josh Morris into touch when it looked like the veteran was bound to score.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad gained plenty of metres coming out of our own end, with 276 running meters and played a key role in the Raiders second try.