'An honour to follow my dad': Wiki, Dodd create history with Raiders deals
Cook Islands international Mackenzie Wiki is set to be the first daughter of a former NRL star to play for the same club after she joined English star Hollie-Mae Dodd at the Canberra Raiders.
Wiki's father Ruben is an ARL Hall of Famer and one of just nine players to receive an IRL Golden Cap for playing 50 or more internationals during an illustrious career with the Kiwis, Raiders and Warriors.
Along with fellow Golden Cap recipients Cameron Smith (Australia) and James Graham (England), Wiki helped select New Zealand fullback Joey Manu as the 2022 IRL Golden Boot winner.
Wiki celebrates with team-mates after captaining the Kiwis to 2005 Tri-Nations victory
Now 21-year-old Mackenzie is following in the footsteps of her famous father, who played 224 games for the Raiders between 1993 and 2004.
After touring the Raiders facility with her family late last year, Wiki made the move to Australia from New Zealand to join Mounties in the NSW Women’s Premiership.
Wiki said she can’t wait to pull on the green jersey and start her NRLW career in Canberra.
“It feels surreal. I’m truly grateful to be a part of this amazing club,” Wiki said.
“It’s an honour to follow my Dad at the same club. His first club was Raiders, now my first club is Raiders. It’s just surreal.”
Wiki played fullback for Cook Islands at the World Cup (Getty Images)
Dodd has also created history with her signing, becoming the first English player contracted to play in the NRLW competition.
The 19-year-old second-rower was in strong demand from NRLW clubs after starring for England at the World Cup.
“I am super grateful and excited to be on board at Canberra. I've heard so many good things about the city and I'm more than looking forward to representing the badge,” Dodd said.
“I knew now was the time for a challenge within myself therefore, coming over and playing in the NRLW I'm ready to learn off world class athletes to help my development within the game.
“Training and playing as a professional athlete in the sport I have love for has been a dream of mine ever since being a child.”
Dodd is the first English player to sign an NRLW contract (Getty Images)
Dodd, who plays for York Valkyrie in the Women's Super League, won the competition’s Young Player of the Year in 2022.
She was the youngest player ever to play in the Challenge Cup final for the Castleford Tigers at 16 years old in 2019.
Raiders NRLW coach Darrin Borthwick is excited about his two new signings and their potential in the NRLW competition.
“I obviously watched a fair bit of the World Cup and Hollie was a good performer for England,” Borthwick said.
“We’ve had a few Zoom calls with her and she fits the mould to what we want here as well. She’s a really good person and she was really good to talk to, and to top it all off she’s a good player as well.
“Mackenzie has been on a little journey herself and has come over to play against NRLW players, that’s what I’ve asked her to do.
“She’s done that and on the back of that and the stuff she’s done up at Mounties, she’s earned a contract.
“I’m really happy for her now and she gets to tell her story and come and represent the Raiders."