Raiders five eighth Mark McLinden is poised to sign a multi year deal and remain with the table topping Canberra Raiders. The news will no doubt warm the hearts of Canberra fans as McLinden is one of Canberra's favourite sons and his loss would have devestated many Canberra fans, including this one.
McLinden was thought to be considering a move to the English Super League but has indicated he is leaning towards staying with the Raiders.
"I'm still going over some things but it does look likely that I will stay in Canberra," McLinden said.
"The talks I've had with the coach and the things I've seen the club do in the last few weeks have been encouraging and I feel like I want to be part of that.
"So I'm definitely leaning towards staying."
The signature of McLinden would be a massive boost for the Raiders as they look towards their top of the table clash with the Brisbane Broncos on Sunday. McLinden may sign as early as tomorrow.
"I could have made a decision at the start of the week but I wanted a little bit more time to think over it, to talk to people who are close to me, to talk to the coach and he's been really helpful," McLinden said.
"And because of all those things I feel confident I can come up with a decision this week.
"The delay (in reaching a decision) is that there are so many things involved and so many things to think about.
"I think if I decide to stay, I'd be happy to sign on for a number of years because I believe that this club will be successful over that period of time."
If McLinden re-signs, it may prove to be the catalyst to retain some other high profile players off contract including Phil Graham, Luke Davico and Jamaal Lolesi.
"He (McLinden) is a high priority and we'd certainly like to keep him," Hawkins said.
"We've been talking to him for a number of weeks and, as a party in the matter, he's got some decisions to make.
"We'd prefer he made them sooner rather than later so we can't start making other business decisions."