JOE Tapine has had a giant 12 months for the Raiders, establishing himself as probably the greatest forwards within the competitors.
Raiders followers have recognised Tapine as one of many competitors’s premier massive males for a while however, not like many parochial fanbases who assume their favorite gamers are the most effective within the comp, the Kiwi worldwide has the numbers to indicate why he deserves to be recognised within the prime tier of the NRL’s expertise.
Tapine made a behavior of churning out large metres for Ricky Stuart’s aspect all through the 2022 season.
He completed the season within the prime three gamers with most operating metres averaging a whopping 165 per recreation, behind fullbacks James Tedesco and Dylan Edwards.
No different participant within the competitors made extra floor after being tackled with Tapine gaining an additional 1731 post-contact metres through the season, whereas his 47 offloads had been the second most within the competitors.
His dominant, particular person season noticed him win his first Meninga Medal because the Raiders’ participant of the 12 months, polling 44 votes throughout the 12 months, 22 greater than his nearest rival.
Whereas his ground-breaking season wasn’t sufficient to get the Raiders a premiership, he did end it on a excessive when he was recognised eventually month’s Dally M Medal award, taking house one of many Prop of the Yr awards to solidify his standing within the recreation.
The Raiders additionally understand how good he’s, which is why they just lately re-signed him on a brand new deal, which is able to maintain him in inexperienced till the top of the 2027 season.
Tapine was already contracted with the membership for 2023, with the four-year extension seeing him locked into Canberra for the subsequent 5 seasons.
Tapine has performed 145 matches for the Raiders since becoming a member of in 2016 and his new deal is about to see him turn out to be probably the most capped gamers in membership historical past. He hopes that locking away his future long run will encourage extra of his teammates to do the identical.
“I wish to be a pacesetter and convey within the workforce gamers right here that wish to play right here,” mentioned Tapine.
“I keep in mind having a dialog with Ricky [Stuart, Raiders coach] the place he mentioned: ‘You’ll play 250 for this membership’ and that’s considered one of my objectives – I wish to attempt to play as many video games as I can for the membership.”
Whereas his season in inexperienced is completed, there’s extra soccer on the horizon for Tapine as he hyperlinks up with NZ for the upcoming World Cup.
It will likely be a great way to complete what has been the most effective season of his profession thus far.
“It has been good to see loads of laborious work repay and to get recognition for it,” mentioned Tapine.
“It’s all about being constant and backing it up subsequent 12 months and the 12 months after that so I’m trying ahead to the problem and rising.”
Tapine additionally achieved one other milestone this season when he had the chance to captain the membership for the primary time within the Raiders spherical 25 demolition of the Wests Tigers to safe a finals place.
That management function is one thing he desires to proceed and increase on as he extends his tenure on the membership.
“I’ve all the time needed to be a pacesetter right here,” mentioned Tapine.
“I’ll nonetheless develop off the management group, there are nonetheless senior gamers forward of me and I’ll simply push my manner and get to the highest.
“I’ve modified dramatically as an individual and a participant since I moved down right here and I wouldn’t have instructed you that I’d be a pacesetter again in 2016.
“To be within the place I’m in now could be very humbling.”
“I’ve had loads of alternatives in Canberra to develop and have been capable of put that into the management group – I’ve pushed to be a greater particular person and a greater participant and that has helped me and helped my character.”
Tapine will now journey to the UK with the NZ worldwide workforce for the Rugby League World Cup. The Kiwis play their first match in Warrington on October 16 and Tapine might be eager to assist the aspect enhance on their quarter remaining exit in 2017.
“Our Kiwi squad is basically robust, I believe we have to maintain constructing on the issues we now have been doing for the final couple of years,” mentioned Tapine.
“[Coach] Michael McGuire talked about how we now have been constructing for this World Cup for the final three or 4 years and it’s lastly getting shut – now we simply must do our factor.”
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Ian Meikle, editor