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Raiders halfback Aidan Sezer.

Aidan Sezer takes a step into the unknown for the 2019 Telstra Premiership season.

For the past three years with the Raiders, or upwards of 60 NRL games, he has had Blake Austin as his halves partner. But for his fourth season at the 'Green Machine' there is a 'TBC' on that position.

"He's got a good opportunity in Super League [with Warrington] but for me it's a bit different because that's all I've known at my time here at the Raiders," Sezer told

"It's not foreign to me as I had a few halves partners at the Titans. I will just focus on myself as Blake has moved on now and we need to get on with life here at the Raiders.

"Whoever steps in will be like the rest of us – needing to do a job as there's been a couple of lean years here."

Complicating matters is that Sezer himself is unsure where his best spot is – at No.7 or No.6.

"I'm not too sure, you know. All my younger grades, and my first four years in first grade, were at five-eighth," he said.

"But it's so similar these days. Regardless of wearing No.6 or No.7 on your back, one half will do more of the organising and the other will take on the line more. You have to find that balance as partners."

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Austin did more of the latter at the Raiders. Sezer is more than relaxed about being the chief organiser, and with a left-foot kick like he has, that seems the way coach Ricky Stuart will want to go.

"Coming into this season I am trying to get back to my natural game and do the things I do well – and kicking is one of my fortes," Sezer said.

Meanwhile he is uncertain who is halves partner will be – Sam Williams, Tonga international Ata Hingano once he returns from shoulder surgery, or even Jack Wighton.

Regular No.1 Wighton spent his first two seasons at Canberra on the wing or at centre but half of his third season (2014) at five-eighth before moving to fullback and remaining there since.

And that is the conundrum Stuart faces. It seems certain Sezer will be his starting No.7.

As to the identity of his No.6 not even Stuart is certain, but he wants a good defender and not necessarily a player with attacking flair.

"I've got to make a decision on No.7 and No.6 and my whole focus will be around my strongest defensive line," Stuart told, reflecting that while the Raiders have finished top-four in attack the past two seasons, they ranked eighth in missing tackles and 15th in penalties conceded in 2018.

"I'm not making attack a priority. We haven't practised anywhere near the amount of attack we've practised over the years. It's been defensive orientated this off-season," Stuart added.

"I believe we need to focus more on stopping tries rather than scoring tries."

If he goes down the path of shifting Wighton into five-eighth, it leaves wingers Nic Cotric or Michael Oldfield as possible fullbacks.

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"We haven't got a lot of options with the injuries to Ata [Hingano] and Jordan [Rapana, also shoulder].

"Ata's injury takes away an outside back and Jordan Rapana is already out. So we are skinny with our outside backs."

Stuart isn't keen on a switch for Cotric – the NRL's leading tackle-breaker with 149 in 2018.

"I believe he's one of the best wingers in the comp and I'm reluctant to move him when he's so valuable to our team there," Stuart told

The Raiders mentor has been critiqued in the past for being too harsh on his halves – a legacy of being a Dally M winner, a three-time premiership-winning half and a former Test No.7.

But Sezer has never found Stuart's input overbearing.  

"He's not too hard. He's always there to lend a hand," Sezer said. "I've heard that he's hard on halves but I've not noticed it.

"I've had a good working relationship with all my coaches and Sticky is no different."

What Sezer did find difficult was being named on the bench for the opening two rounds of 2018 as Stuart searched for more cohesion from his No.6 and No.7.

"It was tough at the time, to be totally honest. It was one of those moments in your career that you start questioning yourself," Sezer said.

"But I got over it pretty well and had two good games off the back of it. I just put it behind me and that's all you can really do.

"It's a week to week proposition rugby league and that time was 'tough' – if I had to put it in one word."

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