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Nicoll-Klokstad extends Raiders deal until 2023

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad says he has to pinch himself every week now that he's an integral part of a winning team.

The Raiders fullback suddenly has even more reason to keep on pinching after re-signing with the club until the end of the 2023 season.

The move by Canberra to lock up the 24-year-old for the next three years caps a stunning run of form for the former New Zealand Warriors lower-grader, who came to the nation's capital late in the off-season.

Since then he's become a cult hero for Raiders fans.

Nicoll-Klokstad said he was thrilled to have his future decided on the eve of the finals for himself and his family.

"To be able to call Canberra home for the next four years, the boys the community in general has made my time here so enjoyable here, so I'm stoked," he said.

"I've already spoken to some of the boys about the re-singing and I said 'how good would it be keep us together for a few years and really do something special'.

Road to Finals: Raiders

"But we can't look too far ahead, we've still got one game left and then finals, so it starts there."

If the Raiders are to win the Telstra Premiership this season their fullback is likely to have a big part to play.  

In 23 games Nicoll-Klokstad is averaging 175 run metres and leading the NRL in kick-return metres (1602m). He has also scored 11 tries.

Nicoll-Klokstad said advice from former mentor Roger Tuivasa-Sheck along with admiration of two Roosters stars have fuelled his amazing run of form.

"I'm laughing now, it's crazy man, just how it's all sort of worked itself out," he said.

Tackle of the week: Round 24

"I used to talk to some of the boys as examples, Joseph Manu and Latrell Mitchel, how much 12-18 months can change their lives.

"When I debuted Latrell got dropped back to reserve grade and him and Joseph were in the same boat, up and down (from the NRL) but they got given a really good crack the year after and they won a premiership, played for their country, Latrell played State of Origin, so it's pretty special what 18 months can do for somebody if given the opportunity."

Apart from the man himself, the other players to benefit most from Nicoll-Klokstad's rise to form this season has been Jack Wighton.

The form of the former Warrior has allowed Canberra coach Ricky Stuart to stay the course with Wighton's move into the halves, which has given him a new lease of life.

"The performances he's been putting in for his first full season have been unreal," Wighton said.

"My mind's at peace now I'm in the halves and I don’t have to change, knowing he's so safe and skilful back there.

"[Stuart] said at the start if it does go pear-shaped I would be going back there (to fullback) but Charnze blew everybody away and he's been killing it ever since."

Nicoll-Klokstad will celebrate his new deal this weekend watching on from the sideline against his former club after Stuart making a host of changes for their clash with the Warriors at GIO Stadium.

Try of the week: Round 24

Bailey Simonsson will start at fullback, with Jordan Rapana, Sia Soliola and John Bateman all rested.

Michael Oldfield comes onto the left wing, Sebastian Kris will take his place on the right edge, while Dunamis Lui will start the game and Hudson Young will wear the number 13 jersey.

Wighton admitted to feeling flat physically after a gruelling State of Origin period, but said the players resting this week along with himself will be fired up for week one of the finals.

"There's a lot of luck in a season, we've had a lot of injuries, but we've fallen back onto great players this season and all of our young kids have stepped up for one or two or five games," Wighton said.

"I was feeling flat after Origin there for a few weeks but all that's gone now, I'm excited and I can't believe it's nearly finals time."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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