Hudson Young has provided some insight on how Jack Wighton has helped him produce the best form of his career so far for the Raiders, which has catapulted him into contention for a Kangaroos jersey.
“Hopefully, at the end of the year, I’ll get to go on tour- that’d be a dream come true,” Young said on SEN’s The Jimmy Smith Show.
The 24-year-old has improved exponentially in 2022, to currently be one of the most in-form players in the competition. Young’s rise has coincided with Canberra’s late-season surge which saw them slip into the top-eight, before knocking off Melbourne on their own patch in the first week of finals.
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“It’s probably just maturity and time within the game spent learning my craft,” Young said when asked for the secrets to his success.
After a somewhat slow start to the season, he has exploded in the business end of the year, scoring at least one try in all but one game during his last seven appearances.
Young is enjoying the most productive spell of his career, since debuting for the Raiders back in 2019. This campaign has seen him register more tries, linebreaks, offloads, running metres and tackles than ever before.
“I have no one better to learn under than Elliot Whitehead,” he said.
However, Young also reserved praise for the man who lines up alongside him on the left-edge, Jack Wighton.
“He’s an international, won Dally M’s and he’s done everything in the game you can achieve, so playing next to him helps me massively,” he said.
The two share a close bond, which has allowed them to form one of the most damaging five-eighth and backrower partnerships in the NRL.
“When I go to him with weird ideas or anything like that, he shuts me down pretty fast,” Young laughed.
“I watch a heap of footy, so I’ll see teams playing different shape and stuff like that and come to him with an idea. He’ll either look at me and say, ‘Shut up’, or sometimes we do it.”
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Young’s stellar season has been a product of the hard-work he has put in to make himself the best player possible. This was rewarded during the club’s awards night this week, when he was announced as the coach’s ‘Player of the Year’.
“I was honoured to get that and obviously it was a bit of recognition for the hard work I’ve put in throughout the season,” Young said.
Yet Young won’t be resting on his laurels, as he prepares for a massive finals fixture against Parramatta this weekend.
“They are a big, physical team, so they’ll play through the middle,” he predicted.
“They’ve got class halves and a fullback, so if we do a good job on the big boys then I think it’ll take their little fast men out of the game.”
The match-up with the Eels will be one of Young’s toughest individual tests of the season, when he lines up against Isaiah Papali’i.
But the Canberra star claimed he wasn’t too fazed by the prospect of having to stop the rampaging forward.
“I try and go after every backrower or half that I come up against…So, nothing changes for me,” he said.
The Raiders aforementioned potent left-edge will once again be busy when they square off on Friday night at CommBank Stadium.
Almost half of the tries the Eels have conceded this season has been down their right-edge, with the Raiders scoring the majority of their tries down their left-edge this season.
A starring role against Parramatta, to help the Raiders into a preliminary final, will certainly do his chances of gaining an Australian Test spot at the World Cup no harm.
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