It’s the stepping through holes that knee’s famous for that Rapana also sees in Nicoll-Klokstad and why he rates him as a great addition to their squad.
Ponga’s also known for his deadly footwork, having burst onto the scene to play State of Origin last year.
They’re big steps to fill, but ones Rapana’s confident Nicoll-Klokstad can.
«I got to play Cook Islands international with him so I’ve known Charnze for a while now,» Rapana said.
«A great player, absolutely massive addition to our squad. He covers anywhere in the backline. He can play at fullback.
«Personally I rate his footwork as another Tuivasa-Sheck, Kalyn Ponga type step, light on his feet, really good attacker, really looking forward to watching him run out in green.»
Rapana’s shoulder reconstruction has opened a spot on the Raiders right wing, while Jack Wighton’s likely move to five-eighth creates an opportunity at fullback.
It’s the latter Nicoll-Klokstad has his sights set on — although he’d be happy anywhere in the 17 come round one against the Titans on the Gold Coast.
The versatile back was contracted with the Warriors until the end of 2019, but was stuck behind not only Tuivasa-Sheck, but firing Warriors wingers Ken Maumalo and David Fusitua.
It meant when the Raiders came calling he was quick to take the opportunity and arrived in Canberra six days later.
He’ll face competition with Michael Oldfield, Brad Abbey and Bailey Simonsson for the fullback role.
While Simonsson’s currently a development player, the Raiders have two spots left in their 30-man squad, which meant he could potentially be upgraded to the top-30.
«Just like any team there’s going to be competition and I’m just excited to come here and compete with the likes of Brad and the other boys trying to fill the other spots. That creates a good culture and it’s exciting,» Nicoll-Klokstad said.
«I’ll be competing with whoever wants the No.1 jersey. All I can do is put my best foot forward and at the end of the day whatever happens if I can say I’ve given it my all I’ll be pretty happy.
«I’m definitely looking to lock down one position that I can call my own and at the moment I’m looking at fullback.»
Nicoll-Klokstad’s ancestry makes him a perfect fit for the Raiders — he’s got Norwegian Viking blood pumping through his veins.
While his father’s Maori, his mother is of Cook Island-Norway descent.
He’s currently living with Ata Hingano, who he’s mates with from the Warriors, but his partner and two young children will arrive in about a month.
Nicoll-Klokstad will use that time to not only find a house, but focus on earning a spot in the 17.
«[Raiders legend] Ruben [Wiki] already gave me a bit of a fill in on the Viking Clap. I’m excited, can’t wait for game day and see how we go,» he said.
«Trial games next week and then four more weeks to the season. Exciting to rip in with these boys and get to know them and a bit more about the club.»
CANBERRA RAIDERS UPCOMING GAMES
Pre-season trials: Canberra Raiders v Parramatta Eels at St Marys, February 16 7pm; Raiders v Canterbury Bulldogs at Bega, February 23 5pm.
Round 1: Canberra Raiders v Gold Coast Titans at the Gold Coast, March 17 6.10pm.
David Polkinghorne covers the Canberra Raiders, local rugby league, Canberra Cavalry, racing and cycling, along with every other sport, for The Canberra Times.