Learoyd joins old mates at Raiders

SYDNEY: Canberra has continued its impressive build-up for the 2006 NRL season with former Farrer First XIII star Tom Learoyd-Lahrs agreeing to join the green machine on a four-year deal.

The towering 19-year-old, who has played 10 first-grade matches with the Broncos, joins former Australian Schoolboys props Dane Tilse, 20, and Trevor Thurling, 21, in making the move to the nation’s capital.

Learoyd-Lahrs said his familiarity with a lot of Canberra’s rising stars made the decision to move south an easy one.

He went to school with utility Alan Tongue, played Australian Schoolboys with prop Michael Weyman and represented the Junior Kangaroos with Todd Carney and David Milne.

He also played with Raiders winger Craig Frawley at the Broncos.

“That was a big influence for me,” Learoyd-Lahrs said.

“I know so many people there and they’re all good blokes.

“I made the decision that if I was ever going to leave Brisbane it would be to Canberra.”

Learoyd-Lahrs paid credit to Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett for the influence he has had on his career.

“I’ll be leaving Brisbane a much better footballer than when I arrived,” he said.

“But I’m looking forward to the opportunity in Canberra and a fresh start.”

Raiders coach Matt Elliott said Learoyd-Lahrs would be a perfect fit in the backrow, but also had the versatility to play prop or even centre.

“He’s a big, dynamic guy and I’m really excited about having him at the club,” Elliott said.

“We believe if we can hold that group of young players coming through, we’re going to have a formidable squad for the next few years.”

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