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Contrite Young braced for rough ride on redemption road

Many might think Hudson Young is fighting an uphill battle trying to restore his reputation but don't underestimate the determination of this Hunter Valley product.

"I don't want to get labelled as a grub. I want my footy to do the talking in 2020 and let everyone know I'm not that sort of person," Hudson told

The 21 year-old Raiders back-rower, from the coal-mining town of Maitland, is not looking for sympathy or offering excuses.

He's not quite halfway through his second ban for eye gouging during the 2019 season. There was five weeks for his contrary conduct on Bulldogs prop Aiden Tolman and then eight games for his actions against Warriors centre Adam Pompey.

"I want to give back to this team first and the coaches who have put trust in me," Young said.

"I want them to trust me again. Also the players on the field next to me – I let them down last year – same with the fans.

"After I win that trust back from all those people, I'll try hard to restore my own name."

Inevitably there will be sledging involved and Young knows that.

"I don't think words will ever affect me, especially if it's someone in the crowd who's not playing, or even if it's a player out there," he said.

"I know a lot of players get under each other's skins by sledging and I do it too. But if it comes my way, then so be it. I won't let it worry me."

The round 25 charge meant Young missed all three of the Raiders finals games.

Warriors v Raiders - Round 2

"The hardest part of going through it all was missing the grand final. As a kid you dream to play in those games," Young said.

"So missing that through my stupid actions and discipline that I had back then, kills me.

"Round six is circled on my calendar."

The Knights were initially travelling to Wagga Wagga to face the Raiders in round six but that match has been transferred back to GIO Stadium due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Young has a few weeks to finetune all the strategies and hard work he's put in place in the off-season to ensure another misdemeanour doesn't happen.

"Obviously an issue there that I've worked closely with the Raiders coaching staff. And I think I'm all good and ready to go in round six," he said.

"Going through all this with a coach like Ricky (Stuart) has made it a hell of a lot easier because he backs me to the hilt.

"We've definitely had some hard chats to make sure it doesn't happen again. And it won't happen again."

Asked if he could give that assurance, Young said: "Definitely. Having a Hall of Famer as your coach and growing up with your parents constantly talking about 'Stick' and then playing under him is fairy daunting. I don't want to disappoint them all."

Raiders: The art of the steal

The next step is try to wriggle around two England international forwards in Elliott Whitehead and John Bateman to be a part of the Green Machine's starting side more often.

Eight of the 12 games he played in his rookie season were off the bench.

"I've just been working hard in the pre-season. I know I sit behind Elliott and John so I'm happy to bide my time and learn from them," Young said.

"I'll be ready to go if 'Stick' picks me for round six. And if not, I'll be ready whenever he says.

"I look forward hopefully to cracking into the starting side more often.

"Having international players ahead of me doesn't faze me. It drives me and challenges me to get better."

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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