Raiders playmaker Sam Williams returned against the Sea Eagles.

Raiders returnees take their chance

After each returned to the first grade side after long absences, both Canberra half Sam Williams and prop Paul Vaughan are reluctant to look too far ahead as they work their way back into a winning team.

Williams replaced five-eighth Blake Austin who broke his hand late in the week and didn't have long to get his head around his first NRL game since Round 8.

Vaughan was returning from a sternum injury having not played in either grade since Round 18, but it was a timely comeback as a replacement for fellow prop Junior Paulo who picked up a rib injury last week.

 

Williams told NRL.com after the 44-30 win he was just happy to be back and hadn’t yet considered the fact that finals footy is beckoning him after he took part in Canberra's most recent finals campaign, in 2012.

"There's certainly a few areas we can improve on but it's another two points and it doesn't really matter how you get the points as long as you get them and we can build on it next week and try and go forward," Williams said.

Williams looked a bit ginger late in the game but said there were no injury concerns.

"It was my first game back at this level for a little while but my fitness is fine. I've just been trying to look after myself in case I got called upon so fitness is all right," he said.

"I think the Mounties club in general's done a really good job all season with the players going back there. Everyone who's gone back has gone with a good attitude. Steve Antonelli the coach does a lot for the boys and he does a lot for myself as well so when you go back there it's about having the right attitude and you can see with Mounties leading the comp the boys who go back want to win."

Despite the club's current depth consigning Williams to reserve grade for most of the year, he praised that depth as an asset for the club.

"It's a real credit to the people who put this squad together, they've done a tremendous job and the squad we've got here is a fairly tight knit one and it's something going forward, it's a good place to be," Williams said.

"At the moment it's just about today's performance, I haven't looked too far ahead. Finals footy is a different beast and we've got another game next week before we worry about that."

Vaughan was pumped after his 10th-minute try but was still dirty on himself for a dropped ball from the restart following that try.

"It was a good feeling and it's obviously good to be back but I followed up that try with something I'm obviously not real happy about," Vaughan told NRL.com of his return.

 


"I'm obviously happy to be back with the boys because they're going real well at the moment."

Vaughan was also relieved to be coming back to a team that had won every game they had played in his absence to make that nine straight with their victory over Manly.

"The confidence is there in the boys that we can score points which is good to see but we've got a couple of things to fix up leading into next week's game," Vaughan said after the scrappy overall effort.

He added his own fitness is fine with his sternum concerns now behind him.

"I'm happy to be back in the environment with the boys since they're going so well and feeding off each other. Hopefully if I'm picked in the 17 I'll try and do my job in the team but it's good to be back at the moment."

Like Williams, Vaughan praised the depth of the squad that has seen him also line up for Mounties this year.

"It's good for the club. It's all healthy competition. At the end of the day that leads to success and you're seeing that now. It's good to watch with the team being so successful," Vaughan said.

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