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Canberra prop Troy Thompson has shown confidence in the club?s future, extending his contract with the Raiders until the end of 2008.
Thompson, 25, was today named in the Raiders starting team for Sunday?s clash against the Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale.
Raiders coach Matt Elliott made only one major change to the starting side that beat the Roosters 24-16 at Canberra Stadium on Sunday, with centre Craig Frawley back from a calf injury. Tyran Smith switches to prop.
Thompson, who has started every game for the Raiders this season, has taken a more dominant role in the Raiders pack this year.
The 1997 Australian Schoolboy representative was contracted with the Raiders until the end of 2006, but he accepted an extended deal today.
?There?s a lot of guys committed here for the next three seasons so it?s good to be able to stay here,? Thompson said. ?If we can keep a strong nucleus of the side here, we?re going to be good in the next couple of years too.?
Thompson has been an unsung hero in Canberra?s undefeated start to the season, but his efforts haven?t been missed by coach Elliott.
?I?m Troy?s biggest fan,? Elliott said. ?I think what he does for the team on and off the field largely goes unnoticed. I?ve been saying for quite some time now, all we need to do is to keep Troy on the field for an extended period and we?ll see how good a footballer he?s going to be. He?s starting to show that now.?
Raiders captain Simon Woolford said the Raiders were not getting carried away, despite being outright leaders on the NRL ladder.
?We put a big emphasis on starting the season well and we?ve done that but there?s a long way to go,? Woolford said. ?The good thing about this team is we?re not content with what we did last weekend.
?This team won?t be gelling like we want it to until probably round 8 or round 9. We didn?t play our best footy on the weekend, especially in the second half. So we?ve got a lot to improve on and hopefully we can put a good performance together for 80 minutes against the Eagles.?
Meanwhile, the Raiders have been granted their first free-to-air television game for the season. Channel 9 will broadcast the Round 10 match between the Raiders and Cronulla Sharks at Canberra Stadium on Sunday, May 15.
?The players deserve it, they?ve worked for it, so it?s a just reward,? said Raiders General Manager Don Furner.
RD 6 - RAIDERS v SEA EAGLES
Sunday, April 17, 2.30pm At Brookvale Oval
1. CLINTON SCHIFCOFSKE 2. PHIL GRAHAM 3. CRAIG FRAWLEY 4. ADAM MOGG 5. DAVID HOWELL 6. JASON SMITH 7. LINCOLN WITHERS 8. TYRAN SMITH 9. SIMON WOOLFORD 10. TROY THOMPSON 11. MATT ADAMSON 12. KRIS KAHLER 13. JASON CROKER
14. MICHAEL WEYMAN 15. JOSH MILLER 16. IAN HINDMARSH 17. MATT GAFA 18. ALAN TONGUE 19. MARSHALL CHALK