Whitehead surprised by NRL speed

Canberra forward Elliot Whitehead says his best is yet to come as he continues to adjust to life in the NRL competition.

Whitehead made his debut in round one this year after joining the Raiders in the off-season from Catalans Dragons.

The back-rower made 37 tackles and 73 run metres as Canberra saw Penrith 30-22.

Whitehead said he was surprised by the speed of the play in the NRL.

“I was excited to play my first NRL game and obviously I had nerves before the game,” he told Love Rugby League.

“But once I got into it I felt it OK. It was an exciting time to play.

“I honestly thought it wouldn’t be that much faster than Super League but once I got out there I felt the pace of the game, it was a lot quicker than I thought it would be.”

Whitehead backed up his round one start with a club-high 44 tackles and 63 run metres in the round two 21-20 victory over the Roosters.

Canberra are undefeated after the two fixtures.

The England international said he hopes to show off some more of his attacking output in the games to come.

“I probably haven’t gotten myself into the game as much as I would have liked to,” Whitehead admitted.

“I felt like I’ve done a lot of defence and not as much as attacking as I did in Super League, but hopefully that will come with a bit more match fitness and I can show people what I’m capable of doing.

“We’ve started well, we just need that consistency now, we don’t want to drop off.

“We’ve got all the individual improvements to make and it will only help the team in the coming games. I’ve been happy with the start.”

The Raiders head north on Saturday to face the Newcastle Knights, who have yet to win a game in 2016.

The Knights are 15th on the NRL ladder and have conceded 78 points in the first two matches. But Whitehead isn’t taking them lightly.

“They haven’t won a game yet but we’re going there like they’re going to turn up,” the 26-year old said.

“I think it’s their first game of the season at home with a home crowd, so they’ll want to put a good performance in and get a good win.

“We’re going to turn up and have to play our best game to get the two points.”

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