You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

NRL pedigree is no guarantee of a long rugby league career but a moment of individual brilliance has given James Schiller a good chance of succeeding.

When Schiller kicked for himself and chased around the corner post to score the match-winning try for Canberra last Sunday, it was inevitable that there would be comparison with his uncle, Raiders great Brett Mullins.

The Young Cherrypickers junior kept the Raiders' season alive with two tries that led Canberra to a crucial win over the Storm and when the rookie took matters into his own hands, he had fans on their feet in a way his uncle Brett once did.

With his own father, Bill Mullins (Roosters), and uncles, Russell and Terry Mullins (Magpies), also enjoying illustrious careers, Mullins knows only too well what it like for a young player to deal with the pressures of having a famous bloodline.

Mullins magic against the Broncos

“Obviously it’s great to have Brett as someone I can go to for advice but he probably speaks to me the least out of all my family and that’s sort of the way I guess it should be,” Schiller said.

“He keeps his distance, but he also knows when to talk and what to talk about. He doesn’t say much but when he throws something at me, I’m definitely all ears.”

The strong rugby league bloodlines continue with another of Schiller’s uncles being Brett Hetherington, who played alongside Mullins, Ricky Stuart and Laurie Daley in the Raiders 94' grand final win and chalked up 119 games for the club.

Perfect Stuart kick ends up with Mullins

“My uncle Brett Hetherington, my Pop and his brothers have also played NRL as well, so I know I have people to fall back on to assist me no matter what it is with my footy,” he said.

“That’s probably what really makes Canberra feel like home is that my uncles and Ricky go way back into the 90’s so it’s been a really good connection to have.”

Schiller scores for the Raiders

Just six games into his NRL career the young Raider has done enough to impress Stuart to ensure he stays at the nation's capital until at least the end of 2024, but now Schiller is determined to forge his own path at the club.

“It’s nice knowing they’ve been in my shoes before but I’m more of just a person that likes to look forward and try and make my own impact in the game," Schiller said.

"I think at this point I need to do everything I can to cement a spot in grade, I’m realistic about it all and I understand that there’s a lot of very experienced players in front of me.

"But hopefully now I can put a bit of pressure on them and we can all rise up to a bit of a challenge and compete for those spots.

"I’ll take last weekend and learn and build from it but now it’s in the past and hopefully I can continue that sort of form into my next few games."

After sustaining an ankle injury in the final minutes of the round 18 clash against the Storm, Schiller is hoping he can get another chance to play for Stuart as Canberra make a charge towards the finals.

"The ankle’s all good, it’s nice and bruised and purple at the moment. I’ll be out for a week and then I’ll reassess next week to see how it is," Schiller said.

"But at the moment I’ve just got to go week-by-week and deal with what happens, If I get picked I get picked and if I don’t, I don’t.

"I’ve taken a lot of positives from training and playing with these boys and the relationship I’ve built with a lot of them probably tops it for me more so than the footy at the moment."

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.