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Simonsson says: Linking with Scott great chance to cement spot

Just staying on the field is the main goal for Raiders winger Bailey Simonsson this year, with Nick Cotric's departure handing him a golden chance to hopefully play a full season.

While Jordan Rapana was cemented on the right side back in the "Leipana" days alongside Joey Leilua, Simsonsson told NRL.com that spot is where he has been building a combination with Curtis Scott on that edge.

"Missing pretty much the whole season last year, my main goal first of all is to stay healthy and injury free and string some footy together," said Simonsson, whose 2020 season was ended in round nine by a shoulder injury.

"I've been working pretty hard to get the body right so fingers crossed I can stay injury free and stay on the field."

Simsonsson hopes to build on that right edge combination with Scott in the club's Sunday afternoon season opener against Wests Tigers and beyond.

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"I played the trial on the right wing outside Curtis, we've been building a bit of a combination there which has been good then obviously I played mostly on the left wing but I'm happy on both sides," he said.

"Wherever the coaches put me I'm pretty comfortable. I've trained mostly this year outside Curtis and played there in the trial but I'm happy on both sides, they're both great centres and I'm comfortable on both sides of the field."

A long stint in the rehab group was a new experience for Simsonsson, though he was helped – unfortunately for the club as a whole – by having plenty of teammates in there last year.

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"It was tough, that was my first surgery and first major injury so it was tough watching from the sidelines but it's all part of the game we play so you have to make sure you do your rehab and get your body right," he said.

"We had a lot of people in that rehab group which was good in a way to keep each other positive and get each other through it."

The son of former All Blacks and North Sydney Bears winger Paul Simonsson, he dreams of one day donning the black and white but his focus is purely around staying on the field for the Green Machine.

"In 2019 I was able to play in the Nines, go on tour with the squad. A couple of games I was 18th man so got a bit of that hunger to hopefully debut there one day," he said.

"That's not really what I'm thinking about. It's a goal but it's not on my mind, if it comes I'll be ecstatic but for now my goal's just to make the team here at the Raiders and try and perform well.

"Most of my career so far has been floating around a bit so I'd like to nail down a spot and hold on to it."