Rugby league: Speedy winger in Raiders' sights

Ryan Gordon had a typical rugby league dream to play in the NRL when he first started running down sidelines quicker than most at the age of 6.

"When I was playing at the Howick Hornets, I always used to say I was going to go and play overseas and I was going to be paid money," said Gordon.

"It has always been a thing with me in the back of my mind but I never really thought it would happen until clubs from Australia started to contact me."

That NRL dream is closer to coming true now after 25-year-old Gordon signed for Canberra Raiders feeder club Queanbeyan Kangaroos and is set to arrive there for pre-season training in mid-January.

The senior team he will play for won the Canberra Cup club premiership in 2010 and 2011 seasons and, this year, lost the final in the last few minutes to stop a memorable three-peat.

If Gordon shows the try-scoring ability that made the talent scouts notice him playing for the Otumoetai Eels and Waicoa Bay then he might be just a couple of injuries to wingers away from an NRL debut.

The Canberra Raiders have a habit of pulling players straight from feeder clubs into first grade NRL action. Last season, coach David Furner selected two players from another feeder club Mounties to play against the Warriors following injuries to key forwards.

Gordon says the offer to play overseas has happened quickly, as this winter was his first back playing league after time way from sport and playing rugby for Katikati in 2011.

Incidentally, Gordon played First XV rugby at Katikati College and sad if he had not made the Eels first team he would have played another season of rugby.

It was no surprise the Eels coaching staff, headed by Brett Rodger and Jock Nicholas, pounced on Gordon as soon as they saw him training.

He scored 27 tries, including six hat-tricks, from 14 games in a stand-out season for the Eels in the Waicoa Bay's premiership, which led to selection in the Waicoa Bay rep team.

"I was approached by a couple of Canberra clubs when I was playing for Waicoa Bay so I mentioned it to Josh Weeden, who had played over there and was in the Eels and Waicoa teams with me, and he said if you are keen to do it he could put me in contact with some people there.

"I then got a phone call from the Queanbeyan Kangaroos coach, with an offer, and he said they were keen to get players like me over there.

"The next day, the club manager rang me and that was that. The contract went backwards and forwards a couple of times but I am pretty happy with it.

"It is too good an opportunity to pass up."

Gordon is grateful for the opportunity given to him by the Eels and would love to come back one day and play for the club again.

"I heard they were a really good club and had a good attitude. They always push their players to be the best they can and there has been no exception to that with me.

"They have been very accommodating and club president Stan Nicholas has gone out of his way to help.

"Brett (Rodger) has always been on to me that I could go far and that I had a lot of potential, which means a lot.

"I have talked about going to play at fullback but he said to stick on the wing because that is where I will get further in my career. He has played professionally so having someone like that who is really pushing and encouraging you, makes a big difference."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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