The rumours started once he was dropped from the first-grade side and they have now materialised, with Terry Campese’s tenure at the Canberra Raiders officially coming to an end.
The club today announced that the veteran would be released from the final year of his contract to sign with English Super League side, Hull KR.
It was 10 years ago in 2004 when Campese made his debut and having come through the lower grades and excelling, it was just a matter of time before he played first-grade.
With in excess of 100 games to his belt and a stint as captain for the last three seasons, the Queanbeyan junior has provided some great moments for Raiders fans and has represented both NSW and Australia in the past.
The club will not forget Campese easily, though, with club CEO Don Furner praising the veteran for his time at the club and the way he played the game.
“Terry Campese always went onto the field for the Raiders with passion and pride for the jersey,” Furner said.
“He has a number of individual highlights for the club which he will be remembered for, including scoring 36 points against Penrith in 2008, a year where he went close to winning the Dally M Medal.”
“The Raiders want to take the opportunity to wish Terry and his family all the best for the future and acknowledge the wonderful contribution he’s made to the Raiders both on and off the field.
“He will always be considered a Raider and he will always be welcome here.”
With a new challenge ahead of him, Campese wanted to assure fans that he would do whatever it takes to get them in his corner.
“I’ve been at the Raiders my whole career but it’s time to move on. This is a new challenge for me and one I’m really looking forward to,” he said.
“Looking at all the squads over there, ours is one that is strong and can definitely compete with the top sides but I’ve done a fair bit of research on Hull as well and it’s a place that I think I’ll like.
“I’m excited, I can’t wait and I’m looking forward to experiencing the Super League competition. My main goal is to try to help the club to go up the table and improve on where they finished last season.
Although he may not be captain at Hull KR, Campese will still embrace the leadership role and hopes that the 1-year deal with Hull KR can be the first of a few, should his body hold up.
“Leadership is something that I pride myself on and I love working with the younger players,” said Campese.
“I’m sure that will still be the case at Hull and hopefully we can have a successful year and challenge for that top eight position.
“I’ve signed up for one year which was a big thing for me. I’d like to stay longer than that as I feel I’ve got some good footy left in me, but it’s down to me to prove that. I want to come over there, play the best football I can and hopefully be successful with Hull KR.”
The club are equally excited to have Campese on board, for the experience, steady approach and direction he brings to a side.
“Terry is a true professional who has played at the very highest level and he’ll bring a wealth of knowledge to the squad next year,” said Hull KR coach, Chris Chester.
“We’ve lost a bit of experience from last season and it was important we brought in players with leadership qualities to complement a young and exciting crop of players at the club. Alongside the likes of Mick Weyman and Ryan Bailey, Terry will be a real leader for us.
He’s a great organiser who can guide us around the park and he’s also got an exceptional long and short kicking game.”
With fellow NRL half Albert Kelly also joining the Rovers squad, it is a chance for the two to play their natural roles – Campese to direct and Kelly to play adlib.
“It’s no secret that we’ve been in the market for a hooker and while we haven’t quite been able to get a deal over the line, we’re more than happy to run with what we’ve got in that position and bringing in a playmaker of Terry’s calibre was an opportunity we couldn’t afford to pass up.
“He gives us some strength in depth and competition for places in the halves and his experience will take the pressure off Albert Kelly in particular and free him up to play his natural game.”