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Who was going to partner Jamal Fogarty in the halves was the burning question for Canberra over the pre-season but little did we know the rookie combination of Ethan Strange and Kaeo Weekes would be called upon so early.

It was 19-year-old Strange who got the jump for the opening seven rounds but Manly recruit Weekes refused to kick stones and went on to steer Canberra’s NSW Cup side to four wins in their opening five rounds, showing coach Ricky Stuart he was ready to step up if needed.

And after grinding together back-to-back wins, the youngest halves combination currently in the competition are showing why you shouldn't write off the Raiders just yet.

“I think you have just got to have the belief in yourself that when the time comes and you’re called up, that you can do the job for the team,” Weekes told

“When I wasn't playing great, I was playing Cup and I was enjoying it. They are a good bunch of boys.

“I think that's the same with everyone, you have just got to bide your time. If there's boys in front of you and just keep working on your craft.

“Obviously, you play for a reason and if Stick will pick you, then he has full confidence in your do to do your job.”

Kaeo Weekes Try

Since teaming up in Round 8, the young duo have showed some real resilience to bounce back from their 40-0 defeat to the Sharks and have now taken down the Sea Eagles and Bulldogs to have the Raiders humming in sixth position heading into Round 12.

Weekes said he and Strange have been advised to ‘keep it simple’ in the halves and the gritty, grinding style of play has looked to pay dividends for the Raiders in recent weeks.

“Our combinations is getting better each week, we're both growing in confidence and it's only going to be better for us and the team moving forward,” Weekes said.

“Learning off Stick is great for my development, he simplifies our game for us really well.

“Jamal has been great for me and Stranger as well. He’s obviously more experienced, so he puts his two cents in and helps us with video after the games, before the game, sort of tipping us up on what we can do better, but other than that, he is letting us do our own thing.

“We're not all the same sort of players, but, Jamal, he's a very good teacher and a very good leader for us.

“I think we are just doing what we do the best, just playing the ball and just not over complicating it.”

Strange has a standout

Weekes has made the ultimate sacrifice to pursue his dream of becoming a consistent NRL playmaker, moving away from his family in Hornsby for the first time.

But the fleet-footed playmaker says through the hard work and challenges, his family is always front of mind.

“I started playing when I was four so I have grown up loving it. Both my pops coached me, and my old man ended up coaching me when I got a little bit older,” he said.

“I always had this one goal to play NRL and hopefully I can make it a long, healthy career out of it.

“I love my family and family is a big anchoring point for me, I do this all for them and for myself just to make them proud and my family name proud."

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.