As the Warriors contemplate their new direction under the sole ownership of Autex Industries, hopefully there is a lesson to be learned with the case of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.

The 25-year-old, who will line up at fullback for the Raiders against the Rabbitohs on Friday night, has been a revelation in the NRL this season.

He has been a key part of the resurgence of the Green Machine, and is already recognised as one of the buys of the year.

Nicoll-Klokstad has played 25 games for Canberra, an ever-present until he was rested in the final round of the regular season.


He has averaged 165 metres per game – only eight players in the NRL have more – as well as 11 tries and 10 linebreaks.

His all action style has also delivered a club high 74 tackle busts and the former City Newton and Richmond junior recently inked a signed a lucrative deal to stay in the Australian capital until the end of the 2023 season.

The kicker for the Warriors is that 'CNK' could have been another 'RTS'; a local boy made good and an attacking weapon in a backline that struggled for potency this season.

He came to the Warriors ahead of the 2016 season on a two year deal.

He cracked the NRL side in 2017 – scoring seven tries in seven games – taking his chance when David Fusitu'a or Ken Maumalo were out, and also impressed off the field, being honoured as the clubman of the year.

Nicholl-Klokstad earnt a new two year contract, but halfway through 2018 he was told he was free to explore his options.

What a pity. There was some logic to their decision, as Nicholl-Klokstad was stuck behind Tuivasa-Sheck for the No 1 jersey, and Maumalo and Fusitu'a had a mortgage on the flank spots.

But Nicholl-Klokstad, who also spent three years at the Storm as a junior before coming home, was a bit special.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad in action for the Raiders against the Warriors in August. Photo / Photosport
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad in action for the Raiders against the Warriors in August. Photo / Photosport

This is not just hindsight.

In February I wrote that he had "an X factor rarely seen in young players at the Warriors" and stood out for his "professional attitude".

He's certainly got more potential that several other outside backs currently at the club.

While the Warriors should be applauded in their stance of not wanting to hold players back, he was the kind of player you attempt to fit in somewhere, even if it means trying him at centre.

Fellow Kiwi Joseph Tapine has also taken a different kind of road to NRL success.

He had showed promise at the Knights, before signing with the Raiders ahead of the 2016 season, with a year still to go on his contract at Newcastle.

Though there were other precedents, there was uproar at the time and the Knights threatened to banish him to reserve grade, before eventually agreeing an early release.

Tapine made an instant impression in Canberra, with 25 games off the bench that year, as the Raiders reached the preliminary final.

Three years later they are back at that stage, a game away from their first grand final since 1994.

"[In 2016] I was only a couple of years into the NRL then and I don't have the feeling I do now," Tapine told D'arcy Waldegrave on Radio Sport. "I'm more confident, a bit more mature in how I play. As a team I think we are more mature too."

Tapine, who is renowned for his physical approach, says blunting the Rabbitohs' impact early is key.

"The start is crucial," said Tapine. "They have big boys so we have to come out physical and start hard, kinda shock them and keep that intensity level up.

"I'm looking forward to the contact, I enjoy the contests. The goal is to strike through the middle and get them tired."

With the week's rest, and the better all-round forward pack, the Raiders will start as deserved favourites in front of a sold out home crowd, though the Rabbitohs won the only previous encounter this year.