Campese a Raider for life?
The Canberra Raiders are set to sign five-eighth Terry Campese to an extended five-year deal that will ultimately tie him up for life.<br><br>Campese, who will find out tonight if he has done enough to earn a New South Wales State of Origin debut after leading the Raiders to a 38-12 demolition of the Warriors yesterday, comes off contract next season and is tipped to be one of the hottest properties on the market.<br><br>But Canberra officials are desperate to stave off interest from rival clubs and sign the 24-year-old to a long-term deal.<br><br>Campese’s manager Jim Banaghan will meet with chief executive Don Furner today with an announcement set to be made as soon as the end of this week.<br><br>“It’s my understanding that ‘Campo’ is pretty happy about it,” Raiders chairman John McIntyre told NRL.com this morning. <br><br>“We’re pretty confident about it – as much as you can be at this stage. We just need to sort through a few issues with him.”<br><br>Campese has already been sounded out by up to half a dozen clubs with Penrith believed to have tipped in a huge $350,000-per-season offer to lure him to the foot of the mountains.<br><br>But the Raiders have room to move under the salary cap and are keen to secure Campese’s services for up to five years – a deal that would see him through until the age of 29.<br><br>They are also aware of the upcoming State of Origin series with Campese in line to debut at some stage in the coming weeks.<br><br>“In my experience it is always best to get these things out of the way before Origin starts for those blokes that are in the mix,” McIntyre said.<br><br>The new deal would complete a stunning turnaround for Campese, who wasn’t even offered a contract by the Raiders two years ago before some irresistible form throughout the 2007 season forced the club’s hand.<br><br>“I think both parties have agreed that he wants to stay and we want that sorted out fairly quickly,” coach David Furner said.<br><br>“For us, he is a local boy and he has been playing some very good footy. From a coach’s point of view, I certainly want him here.<br><br>“He has matured a lot the past few years which comes with age but he still has a lot to learn and that’s exciting for the club.<br><br>“Hopefully we can secure him to a lengthy contract and the sooner he gets that done the less he has to worry about.”<br><br>Furner said he was particularly impressed with Campese’s on-field response yesterday to criticism over his form in the lead-up to Origin.<br><br>“Terry never made a fuss about any of that but we spoke about the past few weeks when he has had an injured foot and battled the flu,” Furner said.<br><br>“He has had to deal with contract negotiations too and yesterday he also took on the captain’s role (in the absence of Alan Tongue) but I thought he handled that really well.<br><br>“Yesterday when he was back to feeling right with injury and everything I just felt that he was up for a big game and they’re the times that you have to stand up.<br><br>“I thought he did that really well – he showed why he is so important to us.”<br><br>While Campese looks set to re-sign with the Raiders, Warriors halfback Nathan Fien is expected to make an announcement on his future in the coming days too with Parramatta and St George Illawarra favourites for his signature.<br><br>Fien has been told to look elsewhere in 2009 but has already rejected overtures from England to stay in the NRL. <br>