Raiders recruit Jordan Turner during pre-season training.

Turner hoping to follow countrymen's lead

At the conclusion of the 2014 Four Nations, Josh Hodgson burst through the doors at Raiders HQ with little fanfare outside of the Canberra set-up and those keen observers of the Super League.

A year later, fellow England international Elliott Whitehead joined the Green Machine in similar circumstances with just under 200 games of Super League experience under his belt from his time at Bradford and Catalans.

Fast forward to the end of the 2016 season and both have become household names with Raiders and NRL fans alike. Hodgson finished eighth in the final 2016 Dally M Medal count while Whitehead was a key man in Canberra's run to the preliminary finals, featuring in all 27 games and scoring six tries.

Few could have predicted how successful both men would be so soon in their NRL careers, which is why there's plenty of optimism surrounding new Raiders recruit Jordan Turner who is following a similar path to his compatriots after signing a two-year deal to play in the nation's capital.

Turner made 229 Super League appearances for Salford, Hull and St Helens across 11 seasons in the UK's top domestic competition and at 27 years of age is just hitting the peak of his powers, the versatile Englishman seeing parallels between his move and those of his new teammates.

"I think Josh and Elliott were probably in similar situations to what I was in my career, that they needed to take their game to the next level," Turner told media at Raiders HQ on Monday.

"You can just see from being out here and both of their first seasons they took their games to a level they never reached in England and they're reaping the rewards for that now. Hopefully I can emulate what they've done and if I can do that I'll be a happy man."

 


Turner – who was a teammate of Canberra hard man Sia Soliola while at St Helens in 2013-14 – said his preference would be to play "in the halves or centre", but standing at close to 190cm and weighing over 100kgs, his ability to cover the back row may just be his ticket to a spot in the squad for Round 1.

Nonplussed by his exact playing position at this early stage of his NRL stint, Turner's goal for the coming months remains simple.

"I'll be happy if I can make the squad for Round 1, if I can be in the 17 I'll be a very happy man and I'll be looking to cement my place in the 17 first and then think about the starting line-up after that," Turner said.

"I wouldn't have signed here if I didn't think I could break in to the team.

"Depending on the way that Ricky (coach Ricky Stuart) wants to go this year, maybe I might be able to be an interchange utility, that's the sort of thing he's talked about."

That is exactly what Stuart has in mind for his latest English recruit, with the Canberra mentor keen to lean on Turner's versatility.

"With Jordan it's more… he has a great capacity to play a utility role. He's played back row, he's played in the halves, he's played centre," Stuart said prior to the start of pre-season training in November

"In today's game when you've got a limited interchange I think that's a really classic position to be able to fill."

If Turner proves to be anywhere near as influential as Hodgson and Whitehead have been, Canberra might just have another English success story on their hands as they look to build on an impressive 2016 campaign.

Video first featured at raiders.com.au
Photo: Raiders Media