Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has been a revelation since joining Canberra. Picture: Mark Evans
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has been a revelation since joining Canberra. Picture: Mark Evans

CNK’s cut-priced ‘Whisperer’ driving rapid rise

Unlike the Queensland Coach Whisperer, Andrew McFadden does not charge $5500 per hour.

But his value to dynamic Canberra No.1 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad?

Priceless.

In a year where 'Whisperers' have continuously been in the headlines - most notably Joe Wehbe and Bradley Charles Stubbs - it now appears McFadden, the largely anonymous Raiders assistant coach, could prove the most important motivator of the 2019 NRL grand final.

Nicoll-Klokstad revealed the once cult playmaker - and one half of the unforgettable 'Super Macs' combination - wasn't only responsible for getting him into lime green, but also now acts as "mentor" to the 24-year-old.

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All of which now continues a longstanding relationship between the pair, given it was 'Cappy' who, several years back, signed the Auckland youngster to his first NRL contract when employed as head coach of the Warriors.

Yet before the promising Kiwi had even made his debut, McFadden was punted prior to the 2017 season and then, within a year, back home at his old club assisting head coach Ricky Stuart.

And guess who his first recruiting suggestion was?

 

Canberra Raiders NRL assistant Andrew McFadden is a mentor to Nicoll-Klokstad. Picture: Canberra Raiders
Canberra Raiders NRL assistant Andrew McFadden is a mentor to Nicoll-Klokstad. Picture: Canberra Raiders

 

"So now he's got me not one, but two jobs," Nicoll-Klokstad laughed this week. "Although Andrew means a whole lot more to me than that too.

"Obviously over at the Warriors, he started out as my coach. But then late last year, after he brought me across to Canberra, I asked if he would become my mentor too.

"And the help he's given me since - just dealing with the mental side of some things - it really is incredible.

"He's my role model. I owe him so much."

 

Nicoll-Klokstad has become a cult hero in the nation’s capital. Picture: Scott Barbour
Nicoll-Klokstad has become a cult hero in the nation’s capital. Picture: Scott Barbour

 

So too, the Raiders.

Despite arriving at Canberra this year boasting just seven NRL appearances, CNK has since exploded into one of the game's most exciting young prospects.

So big in fact, entrepreneurial Raiders fans have started an 'All The Way With CNK' merchandising line - with all profits from the signature t-shirts, hoodies, stickers, even coffee mugs going to the Ricky Stuart Foundation.

Asked how McFadden had helped improve him this year, the fullback continued: "There's a heap of stuff 'up top' that he has helped with.

"Whenever I'm dealing with things - as we all do - he's there to help me digest it. Just helps pinpoint where I'm going wrong, where I need to improve … it's about teaching me how to deal with things mentally, which has been a massive help."

Better, this pair separated by 17 years are also now close friends.

"Oh, extremely close," Nicholl-Klokstad confirmed. "He started out as my coach and is obviously a lot older than me, but he has children too so we catch up at the park, stuff like that.

"He's a great friend."