Elliott ready for a fresh start in Canberra

“The mistakes I have made are none other than me responsible for them,” he said. “I have never felt justified or played the victim card.

“You are the only one responsible for what happens in your life. And when I go to Canberra, I will be 100 percent responsible for what happens there and how I behave. I can’t actually wait.”

Elliott felt no malice toward the Bulldogs, who were criticized by some for turning the striker into a scapegoat.

“I love the club too much to say a bad word about them,” Elliott said. “The hardest part was playing the last game and not knowing it would be my last. You would not meet a better person than [skipper] Josh Jackson.

“But now that I’m gone, I can see the value in getting a fresh start and trying to prove myself on and off the field.

“I was actually willing to wait until round one to find another club. I was happy to support myself because I know I’m in a really good main place and I’m focused. There were a few things. in my life that might have clouded my judgment, but I’m so ready now.

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“I honestly think my best footwear is still in front of me.”

Elliott was in the gym before 7 a.m. on Saturday when he took a call from Solheralden. He was rumored to be joining the Wests Tigers, but a call from Raiders chief recruit Peter Mulholland, who signed a 13-year-old Elliott to the Bulldogs from Tathra on the NSW south coast, kickstarted the move to Green Machine.

Mulholland put Elliott and Stuart on the phone together. Stuart loves players who have a crack, and Elliott respects straight-shooters.

The Raiders have had their own series of alcohol-related incidents in the past year, but Elliott is not disturbed and has spent countless hours on his body and mind preparing for a fresh start. Elliott will earn around $ 250,000 next year and could be the season’s bargain.

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Elliott also said he felt an immediate bond with Canberra coach Ricky Stuart because of their connection through having family members with autism, and how Stuart wanted to be the one who called Elliott’s brother James, who is on the spectrum, to tell him about signing news.

“Sticky [Stuart] said I could add a lot of value to the pitch, but the big one was our connection through my brother and Ricky’s daughter [Emma]said Elliott.

“He actually asked for my brother’s number when we agreed on the terms because he himself would call James and welcome the family to the Raiders.

“My brother buzzed about that phone call. It says a lot about Ricky. The hard part about autism is not knowing how to express yourself, James struggles to talk things through with people, and every time I’m in the headlines, he can not understand why people write or say bad things about a person he loves.

“James is happy. So am I. It will be a good year.”

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