Kiama Knights junior Jaxon Lavender wants big things in 2024 with the Canberra Raiders.
The former Dapto Canaries player was part of the Raiders open training session on Monday, December 4 at the Kiama Showground as the team prepares for the upcoming 2024 NRL season.
Big numbers came out for the training run with local school students and Raiders fans alike watching the session.
Part of the squad that included the likes of star half Jamal Fogarty and NSW Origin player Hudson Young was Lavender as he looks to impress Canberra coach Ricky Stuart this pre-season and into 2024.
Slated to play NSW Cup in 2024, Lavender will get all the opportunity to stake his claims for an NRL run in the future during pre-season and at training against the starting team throughout next year.
Originally in the St George Illawarra junior ranks, Lavender is now looking to impress in the nation's capital.
"This has been my first year at the Raiders at the start of this year and I played SG ball and moved through to Jersey Flegg and then I made my NSW Cup debut last year and now I'm getting some time with the NRL side," he told the Mercury.
"So I'm just enjoying that and lapping it up while I can and it's just a good experience. It's been awesome (training with the NRL team). They definitely challenge you, but I think when they challenge you, you earn their respect by going hard and showing them what you've got.
"It's not a thing where you should be standing back you should be on the front foot all the time. The senior players are always there having little chats with you so that's just one good thing that they always help you out and they're great blokes. They'll help out with anything you need"
Lavender heaped plenty of praise on Canberra's veteran NRL coach, Ricky Stuart.
"He's very good. He's got time for everyone and he's one of the greatest coaches I've been under for sure," he continued.
"He's got a long of time for the young fellas and he's very knowledgeable. He's been around the game and got all that experience around the club so he's a really good club person to have a a good role model."
The former Kiama High student also elaborated on his goals for 2024.
"I've got to set realistic goals. At the back end of last year I played a few NSW Cup games and I was in the squad in the finals and whatnot," Lavender said.
"This year I probably want to play the majority of my footy in the NSW Cups. I think that's a realistic goals I can settle for. And if I play good footy in NSW Cup who knows it could be NRL somewhere down the track."