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Emerging fullback Chevy Stewart has backed his "second dad" Ricky Stuart to nurture the next generation of Canberra Raiders stars. 

Stewart became the second-straight Canberra player to be named player of the match in the Under-19's State of Origin clash after leading NSW to a tense 14-10 victory on Thursday night. 

The accolade comes 12 months after Raiders teammate Ethan Strange claimed the award, the youngster going on to become a regular first-grade player this season and set to feature in his 15th NRL game when his side faces the Wests Tigers on Sunday afternoon. 

Canberra now boast six players from the 2023 and 2024 NSW Under-19's teams after they announced the signing of Ethan Sanders, Myles Martin and Savelio Tamale for 2025 and beyond on Thursday. Forward Jake Clydesdale is the other player already in the club's system. 

Having seen what each of the players can do first-hand, Stewart is confident the group can lead the Raiders to sustained NRL success.

Chevy Stewart was named man of the match after NSW's Under-19's State of Origin victory on Thursday.
Chevy Stewart was named man of the match after NSW's Under-19's State of Origin victory on Thursday.

"I've already sent a message to them about how keen I am to have them [in Canberra]," Stewart said. "There's a really good future going on down in Canberra. 

"Me and Strangey have been lucky enough to experience [playing in the NRL], I put it down as one of the best days of my life. I'm sure [the others] will get their chance."

Long viewed as a future talent, Stewart was thrust into the spotlight when he made his NRL debut in a round six golden-point victory over the Titans. 

Two more games in the top-flight followed before regular Raiders fullback Jordan Rapana returned from a knee injury and Stewart returned to reserve grade. 

While he's not currently playing in the NRL, the teenager is working closely with Rapana to develop his game and ensure he's ready when the next opportunity arises.

Chevy Stewart makes his mark

"Rapa is so skilful, he's such a leader, such a funny bloke," Stewart said. "There's such a good older group at Canberra and I'm learning off them. [Stuart] knows what to do with me, I've told him I put my full trust in him. When he's ready, I'm ready again. 

"He's really good with what he does. He knows when to play us. Strangey's at the moment playing a full season and he's so young and [Stuart] put me in early as well. It's just a time and development thing, I've got my full trust in him and I'm sure the other boys have their full trust as well."

The recruitment of a crop of highly-touted youngsters bucks the trend for the Raiders, with officials finding it difficult to lure players to Canberra in the past.

Stewart credited a heart-to-heart with Strange at an under-16's representative camp for laying the foundation for his move, while Ricky Stuart has created a welcoming environment for a group of players who have moved away from family and friends to chase their dreams.

Chevy Stewart celebrated victory in his NRL debut earlier this season.
Chevy Stewart celebrated victory in his NRL debut earlier this season. ©NRL Photos

It's a culture the coach hopes will lead to a winning NRL team, with Stewart determined to repay the faith the Raiders have shown in him. 

"I put him down as my second dad," he said. "He's so good, he looks after me and Strangey so well and not only just us two but the whole club. 

"He has us over for dinner, tells us when we're not doing stuff right and when we're doing stuff right. He's definitely a big role model in my life."

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.