Clydsdale feels for former teammates
Raiders back-up hooker Adam Clydsdale says it's difficult to see his former teammates at the Newcastle Knights struggling, but admits he's loving every minute in Canberra.
It's almost fitting that Clydsdale has ended up in the nation's capital given his connection with the club.
The former Knights NYC skipper made his first grade debut against the Raiders in 2013 and then grabbed his first NRL try against the Green Machine the following season.
But after three seasons in Newcastle that produced 40 games, the 23-year-old hooker made the move south to link up with the Raiders.
While his numbers have been limited in 2016, Clydsdale has been Canberra's talisman, helping them to three wins from as many matches with him in the side to have them sitting pretty in third spot on the Telstra Premiership ladder.
It's a far-cry from the current plight of his former club, with the Knights all-but assured of back-to-back wooden spoons with just one win after 22 rounds.
"It's tough coming from Newcastle because we didn't go well the last couple of years I was there," he said.
"To come here, all the boys are good, everyone's best mates here and everyone just wants to play for the club.
"To be in this culture and be part of this club, I love it down here. My partner loves it here so I'm very grateful for the opportunity I've got here and I'll have to repay my debts and do the best that I can."
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of linking up with the Raiders has been the opportunity to learn from Englishman Josh Hodgson.
Rather than bemoan the fact he's behind him in the pecking order for the No.9 jersey, Clydsdale has been willing to take advice from his fellow rake.
Hodgson was the chief destroyer in Canberra's 30-14 win over the Sharks on Saturday night, setting up two tries and running for 125 metres in a dominant display through the ruck.
His cause was helped by the fact that opposition hooker Michael Ennis (virus) missed the match, but he won't receive such favours when the Raiders host the Melbourne Storm on Monday.
Hodgson will take on Storm skipper Cameron Smith in what could be a showdown for the Dally M Medal, with both players key to their side's success.
"Hodgo has been awesome since I've come here," Clydsdale said.
"I think he's the kind of player that backs himself and he's taught me to do that as well. I'm just here to keep learning and keep getting better at my game.
"Hodgo has had a great year – he's had a killer year – but obviously we know what Cameron Smith's like, and Cooper Cronk as well. They've got a great kicking game and they control the speed of the game. We'll have to look out for them."
Canberra's fate on Monday could come down to whether star five-eighth Blake Austin recovers in time from the shoulder injury that forced him from the field last weekend.
Clydsdale wasn't fully aware of the extent of the injury, but was confident Sam Williams would easily fill the void in the halves if needed.
"Sammy Williams is a great player as well so to have him as a back-up is unbelievable," he said.
"It just shows the depth at this club. 'Austo' would be a big loss if we miss him, but I'm not too sure what's happening."