Aidan Sezer is not going to surrender his No.7 jersey without a fight and he's stating his case in the best possible terms by guiding Canberra to one win from the grand final.
English international George Williams is winging his way to Canberra next year on a three-year deal and earlier this season there were rumblings that Sezer would be on his way out of the club.
"I've still got a contract here next year," was all Sezer would say when NRL.com queried his status in the AAMI Park sheds after a bruising 12-10 win over Storm in Saturday's qualifying final.
What he'd prefer to talk about is how the Raiders keep defying the doubters and now find themselves hosting a preliminary final at Canberra's GIO Stadium in week three of the playoffs.
Beating the Storm in Melbourne twice in the past month has silenced those critics but now the team will have to deal with plenty of hype in the national capital leading into the grand final qualifier.
"There will always be hype. We've been speaking about this, that there will always be expectation at this level and at this time of the year," Sezer said.
"But we will still enjoy the moment, enjoy the win and then take our focus firmly on the next game. We can't go back home and slip up."
Match Highlights: Storm v Raiders
Canberra's status as legitimate title contenders does not just come from winning against crack outfits like Storm. It is also due to their newfound knack for winning tight contests.
"It's experience. We have lost a lot of tight games over the years I've been here and even before I came here… the Raiders losing games they should have won," said Sezer, who is finishing off his fourth season with Canberra.
"We have proved to ourselves that we can hang in there. We have a stiffer mentality this year after a very tough pre-season.
"Sticky [coach Ricky Stuart] had a real focus on when we get to those situations in games, where we could win or lose, we need to go aggressive instead of being a bit passive and waiting for the result to come to us."
The Berala Bears junior is doing his part. He had two forced drop-outs against Storm on Saturday night but missed a third. Being his own hard task master has helped improve this year.
"I just think I need to give a hundred per cent in all areas," he said. "You look your teammates in the eye and you want to do them proud, not let them down.
"That's the essence of my game I've really tried to bring to the foreground this year. I kicked it dead and I was filthy at myself because as a halfback you know you're making your middles work extra hard.
"So better execution from me and really believing in the blokes next to me is what I'm after."
Stuart: Its nice to have some talent
Canberra fans are after a fourth premiership – in the year the club celebrates the 30th anniversary of its first (1989) and the 25th anniversary of its last (1994).
"We have a team here full of belief but we won't be listening to outside noise or comment," Sezer said.
"I know sometimes it sounds like a throwaway line but it's a very humble group of boys here. We know our jobs each day as it comes. We don't look far ahead."