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Bateman in Raiders' NRL forwards battle

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/02/2017 Matt Coughlan

Despite establishing himself as a key member of the Canberra's forwards last NRL season, Luke Bateman is taking nothing for granted after the arrival of reinforcements.

The 22-year-old said the addition of former St George prop Dunamis Lui and the potential inclusion of triallist Dave Taylor into the Raiders' pack made it harder to guarantee himself a spot in the 17.

"I'd say I'll be coming off the bench most of the time," Bateman said.

"I'm definitely not cemented in the team but I've been training well all pre-season so, hopefully, that's put me in good stead for round one."

Taylor remains on a train-and-trial contract but is in the running to join the Raiders full time.

Having gone to France in the wake of the Gold Coast cocaine scandal, he has spent the off-season trying to resurrect his career by disproving allegations of poor training habits.

"Dave's lost about eight kilos - he's looking pretty slim actually," Bateman said.

"He's been really ripping in."

Taylor's contract will have to be submitted to the NRL for approval if coach Ricky Stuart decides to make an offer.

"That's not a decision for me. That's more for Ricky, but I don't see why he wouldn't (offer)," Bateman said.

"He's been good. Everyone's been really good.

"No one's been dragging the chain all pre-season."

Bateman was part of the Raiders' side who travelled to Melbourne for a narrow two-point preliminary final loss last season, ending a better-than-expected year.

"To miss by two points was really hard after a long year and all the effort we had put in," he said.

"It's definitely a driving factor leading into this year."

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