18 STARS OF 2018 | Nick Cotric

Presented with an NRL debut to start the 2017 season, boom Raiders winger Nick Cotric grabbed a first-grade berth at Canberra with both hands.

Heading into the new year, he’s not letting it slide.

An imposing figure on the Raiders’ left edge, the now-19-year-old sensation ran in 16 tries at an impressive strike-rate, earning him the mantle of the NRL Rookie of the Year in 2017.

Top-grade experience deemed Cotric ineligible for selection in the NSW Under-20s Blues side to take on the Maroons in May, though his performances throughout his maiden season in the NRL have him primed to be in Brad Fittler’s 2018 Origin discussions.

In welcome news for Raiders fans, Cotric in November pledged his allegiance to the Green Machine, set to remain at the club until at least the end of the 2020 NRL season.

“I didn’t really look at any interest because I was happy at this club. I wouldn’t see myself anywhere else but in the lime green jersey,” Cotric told The Daily Telegraph of his contract extension.

“Growing up as a kid I always wanted to play for the Raiders.

“I still pinch myself every day. I can’t believe how quick it’s gone, this first season has gone so fast. I learned heaps from that year, and I’m still learning now."

Earmarked as an Origin representative in waiting, Cotric will figure in the 2018 Emerging Blues squad, alongside fellow Stars of 2018 Jai Field, Zac Lomax, Luke Metcalf, Jesse Ramien and Victor Radley.