Canberra duo Savage and Kris seeking 'Leipana' status

Xavier Savage says he and centre Sebastian Kris want to emulate the Canberra fan-favourite ‘Leipana’ duo and take the Raiders’ left edge to new heights.

Fresh from terrorising Parramatta with 229m and a dazzling try, the speedster revealed he spent his summer watching highlights of the Jordan Rapana-Joey Leilua centre-wing combination that terrorised opposition defences between 2016 and 2019.

So moved by his YouTube session was Savage that he went to Ricky Stuart and asked if he and close mate Kris could team up on the same edge, a move the Raiders boss has made in the early stages of 2024.

Savage was the toast of his teammates after this try against Parramatta.

“I was watching a lot of Rapana and Leilua highlights and I started to think to myself a little bit, I just felt like Sebastian and I can really bring that to the team as well, that connection and that bond out there on the field,” he said.

“It's very exciting just seeing them and the things that they used to pull off.

“I flicked out the idea to 'Stick' and I'm glad that he was all on board with it.

“We have a good connection there, we're close off the field … there's a lot of trust out there and a lot of connection, and it's only just the beginning of it.”

Savage particularly has enjoyed a fruitful start to the campaign, jagging four tries in five games in his first season as a full-time winger.

Mixing physical running with his lightning pace against the Eels, Stuart singled out the 21-year-old after all his outside backs were dominant in a 41-8 win.

“I said it at halftime and I said it again with all the boys, I've visualised Xavier Savage for two-and-a-half to three years doing what he did tonight,” he said.

“That's why I've been patient and I've cuddled him and tried to get him to his potential.

“It's only one game, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, but I know the footballer Xavier Savage is.”

The Cairns product isn’t celebrating any accomplishment yet, instead focusing on locking down his wing role and continuing to build.

“I feel like I've grown a lot since I first moved down here, just building into the player that Ricky sees, the potential in me,” he said.

“I got a good little wrap at the end, it's good keeping him happy, (so I'll try) and get better every week.”

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