O'Donnell's hoses down Canberra's 'boring' tag
Promising Raiders forward Kyle O'Donnell has a message for those thinking of coming to Canberra next season: it's not boring.
While James Tedesco was happy to renege on his lucrative deal with the Raiders along with Josh Mansour and Kevin Proctor choosing not to move to the nation's capital, O'Donnell is happy to be the poster boy for Canberra's tourism as long as if he's playing the game he loves.
While Ricky Stuart has been throwing money at high quality off-contract players, the coach is yet to land one signature though O'Donnell was more than happy to sign on the dotted line when he joined the club at the start of the season.
"I'm enjoying living down here. It's a good spot. It's a lot more laid back than Sydney and it's great being around with guys you enjoy being with. It's definitely an enjoyable environment," O'Donnell told NRL.com.
"It didn't really worry me [about the misconceptions of Canberra being boring] because I was coming down here for a purpose.
"I did hear that before moving down here that it's boring and it's a boring lifestyle or whatever but I haven't found that. I have a pretty good group of mates down here and I haven't been bored at all."
The move is yet to truly pay off for the giant 23-year-old, though he will line up for his third NRL game for the Green Machine this weekend against the Bulldogs in place of the suspended Paul Vaughan. Coming off the bench, coach Stuart has given young O'Donnell a pretty simple brief to abide by on Friday night.
"He just wants me to basically be with the forwards. It's a pretty simple role. Run hard and tackle hard but I'm not expected to do too much out of the ordinary," O'Donnell said.
"As long as I'm out there on the field I don't really mind where I am but lately I've been playing front row so I'll probably slide into the middle out there."
With the Bulldogs currently sitting on a three-game losing streak and their halves Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson set to back up just 48 hours after Origin, there is no greater opportunity for the Raiders to finally get some much-needed points on the board.
"It's still going to be tough... but it's an opportunity that we can hopefully capitalise on if they're not fully recovered from Origin but they're not something we're focusing on too much," O'Donnell said.
"We're approaching it just like any other game really. We'll go out there to our best and we're not treating it any differently to any other team. They are a really good team even though they have lost a couple of games.
"We're focusing on doing the one-percenters , completing sets and sticking to our game plan so there hasn't been nothing too much out of the ordinary we just want to do all the little things right."
With the Raiders staring down the barrel of a three-game losing streak of their own, they'll be looking to seize the day in light of their poor form this season. In the same sense, O'Donnell will too be looking to make the most of his first-grade opportunity on Friday night at the not-so-boring GIO Stadium.