'Complacent' Harawira-Naera out to lock in starter role
Corey Harawira-Naera admits complacency and inconsistency have prevented him from reaching his full potential, but is hoping a move to lock will help him finally piece it all together.
The Canberra forward has been named at No.13 for the Raiders' season-opening trip to North Queensland, getting first crack at the role vacated by Adam Elliott's move to Newcastle.
Harawira-Naera, a former New Zealand international, got a run at lock last season but primarily had to accept a bench utility role, his versatility seeing him cover the centres along with forward positions.
Extra maturity and an increased appetite to do the hard yards have seen the 27-year-old sharpen his tools and produce a quality pre-season, which convinced coach Ricky Stuart to let him show his wares in round one.
"I've been in Stick's (Stuart's) ear about working my way back into the starting team ... that's the first goal, to get back in the starting team, then just playing good footy," Harawira-Naera told AAP.
"I want to be a player that plays at least a seven out of 10 every week and doesn't drop.
"I've been pretty guilty in the past of having like a blinder one week and then going missing the following week. I've challenged myself to be a bit harder on myself."
Always viewed as a high-potential player, Harawira-Naera is heading into his fourth season with the Raiders after stints with Penrith and Canterbury, his time at the latter ending with a schoolgirl sex scandal that saw his contract terminated.
That termination was eventually overturned but he was released to join the Raiders, where he's played 47 games for nine tries.
But after falling out of the starting mix last season and even being dropped to NSW Cup, he said becoming aware of his inconsistency and not letting his standards slip had become his priority.
"I'm glad I'm finally bloody aware of it ... I'm getting a bit older and more self-aware," Harawira-Naera said.
"It could be a little bit of complacency ... you relax during the week and then go on to the next game thinking it's just gonna happen again, instead of doing all the hard work.
"That's the theme for me this year, to train every session pretty tough, at a high intensity and hopefully just carry them to every game."
Stuart said Harawira-Naera had the chance to show he was ready to finally deliver on his promise.
"He brings experience and it's time for Corey to stand up and show us he's a starting player," he said.
"It gives him a good opportunity now to say 'I want to keep this position'."