Havili retains team spot

SILIVA Havili has revealed a pre-game text message from the man he replaced, Josh Hodgson, calmed his nerves before his Canberra Raiders debut on Sunday night.

Havili was one of the bright sparks for the Raiders in their 30-28 loss to the Gold Coast Titans in round one and has retained the starting hooker’s role for Sunday’s stoush with the Newcastle Knights.

The 25-year-old scored a try in the third minute and his crisp service from dummy-half helped the visitors jump out to a commanding 18-0 first-half lead.

“Credit to the boys that we completed seven from seven, it put me on the front foot and it put the attack on the front foot,” Havili said.

The hooking role is set to be shared again this weekend, with Aidan Sezer named on the interchange bench.

Havili said in future he would like to take ownership of the No.9 jersey.

“That’s the goal (to play more minutes) but it’s up to Stick (Ricky Stuart) where he plays me, he’s the coach but for myself I want to play more minutes and get to use to the pace of the NRL, and the more games I can get that match fitness,” he said.

“I felt like I had more to give when I came off because of the attack we had from the completion rate we had more energy for the back end.”

Despite playing alongside Blake Austin and Sam Williams for the first time, Havili said he felt right at home.

“The clarity the halves gave me and with the pre-season game-plan we have been working on, my plan was just to be neat and tidy from dummy-half,” he said.

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