Finals rookie Cotric keen to add NRL title to enviable resume

He's done more in his 67 NRL games than most players manage to fit into an entire career and Nick Cotric knows Canberra are just three good games away from their ultimate goal.

Cotric exploded onto the scene in 2017, playing in all of Canberra's games and scoring 16 tries on the way to winning rookie of the year honours.

There was no second-year syndrome for Cotric, who proved to be just as devastating with the ball in hand last season, crossing the stripe 12 times as he continued to build a potent combination with Jarrod Croker on Canberra's left edge.

After making his State of Origin debut this season, it seems the only major thing left for Cotric to achieve is a premiership alongside his close mates at the Raiders.

"It's been a pretty crazy season but I'm just excited now," Cotric told NRL.com.

"Given where are on the ladder and what we've done as a team I can’t wait to get out there, I'm raring to go.

"Finals footy I've never been a part of it, so I can't wait."

Match: Storm v Raiders

Finals Week 1 -

Full Time
Storm

Home Team

Storm

Scored 10 points
Raiders

Away Team

Raiders

Scored 12 points

Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network
  • FOXTEL
  • LIVE PASS

For all of his excellent play including impressing in game one of State of Origin, Cotric has yet to experience the harsh and unforgiving spotlight of the NRL finals.

Despite having come through a run to end the season which essentially simulated the finals, Cotric knows a trip to Melbourne in week one will be tough to prepare for.

"It's the same and different, there's pressure in Origin and it's a packed house and you're playing against the best guys, so it was a big learning curve for me," he said.

"It was a good learning experience so hopefully I can take that back to here at club level, so I can do the best I can for the guys.

"Being such a tight group and all of the work, the sweat and tears we've put in ever since the preseason, hopefully that means we're all excited for the weeks ahead."

Despite debuting in Origin, it’s been far from a perfect season for the 20-year-old.

A minor syndesmosis injury kept him out of Origin II while he became the first person to be sent off for a dangerous throw since Peter Driscoll in 1995 when he up-ended Dragons centre Tim Lafai in Round 17.

His time away from the game, especially in the punishing rehab room at the Raiders, means Cotric does not want to waste the next month.

"I was in the rehab room for a couple of weeks and BJ (Leilua) was in there for a long time and it's like another pre-season, it's not a holiday, you're getting flogged every day," he said.

"You're missing out on training and being around the boys too so it's good to have everybody back now and we're fired up.

"Not every year you're going to make the top four or even the top eight so it's our chance this weekend and next weekend if we need it. We can't let this go."

To make sure they aren't back at home next weekend playing for their season, Cotric said the side will need to improve its defensive effort from their round 25 loss to New Zealand.  

Forty missed tackles and 28 ineffective tackles in that game was way out of character for the 2019 Raiders, who have made their work without the ball their trademark this season.

"We didn't wrap up the ball, they kept getting second-phase play," Cotric said of the Warriors.

"That was the main thing we took from last weekend, so if we can wrap up the ball as much as we can (against Melbourne) I think we'll do a lot better."