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Season Review: Halves and Hookers

It was a disrupted season for the club in the halves and hooker positions in 2021, with several combinations used throughout the season. 

Jack Wighton and George Williams started the year as the first-choice halves combination, playing the majority of the first 11 rounds together before George was released from the club. 

2021 Best Moments: Wighton on the attack

Wighton went on to play 21 games this season and was the mainstay of the Raiders halves combination. Wighton played a part in all three State of Origin fixtures for NSW in their series win and was given the opportunity to start at five-eighth in the final game of the series. 

In attack Wighton scored five tries, had 10 try assists and 8 line break assists for the season, while defensively he made a total of 451 tackles (21 per game) with an 89.5% tackle efficiency. Wighton finished the season on 199 career matches for the Green Machine and is on track to bring up his 200th appearance in round one next season. 

Sam Williams moved into the starting halfback role following the departure of George Williams and was able to achieve the career milestone of 100 NRL matches and 100 Raiders matches over the course of the season. Williams helped the Raiders to six wins from his 12 season appearances. 

Matt Frawley played five games towards the back end of the season with two games at five-eighth, two at halfback and one off the bench.  

Williams and Frawley combined for a memorable win against Manly in Round 17, with both play makers controlling the play to pull off an upset win over the high flying Sea Eagles at their home ground. 

Brad Schneider became Raider 376 in May, making his debut in Round 11 against the Storm. Schneider also locked in his future with the club, signing a two-year deal until the end of the 2023 season.

Elliott Whitehead also played one game at halfback, a late call up following an injury to George Williams in the warm up in Round 8 against the Rabbitohs. 

2021 Best Moments: Whitehead sells the dummy

In 2021 the hooking duties were mainly shared between Josh Hodgson and Tom Starling, with the combination proving to be very successful when Starling came from the bench and Hodgson shifted to a ball playing forward role during matches. 

2021 Best Moments: Hodgson's hit on Sivo

After coming back from a second ACL injury, Josh Hodgson played 20 games at hooker this season, starting on 19 occasions. 

Tom Starling made five appearances in the starting side in 2021, as well as 14 games off the bench. His season ended prematurely after suffering a fractured jaw against the Storm in Round 22. 

2021 Best Moments: Starling shows his speed

Siliva Havili played the first nine games of the season off the bench, used mainly as a middle forward, before returning for the final two games of the season to cover the injury to Tom Starling.