Raiders Rookie Watch: Caleb Esera

He might just be the biggest player we’ve signed out of Queensland since Mal Meninga.

I’m not trying to heap pressure on the kid. It’s simple maths.

At 196cm and 125kg, Caleb Esera is a man mountain. He’s in the mould of Nelson Asofa-Solomona (200cm and 115kg) or Viliame Kikau (195cm and 116kg).

He’s a seriously big deal. And I believe we’ll see him make his first grade debut in 2022.

At 19, he’s still growing into his frame but he’s been making local men in the Canberra Comp look like his little brothers in a game of backyard footy. Using his size and power, he busts the opposition, offloads for fun and regularly sniffs out meat pies for himself.

Born in Brisbane, he played for Souths Acacia Ridge Magpies as a junior. He’s a proud Queenslander of both Tongan and Samoan heritage.

Esera is currently on an ongoing training contract but the club will need to upgrade him before other clubs get their hands on him. There were already whispers of the Titans having a sniff…

We don’t want to lose this weapon.

In the juniors he’s been versatile enough to play as both a second rower or a middle. With his size it’s hard not to see him shift towards the middle but David Fifita and Bill Kikau have proven a big boy out wide can still be extremely damaging in today’s game.

After smashing school footy with Wavell State High, he got a start in the Queensland U18’s side two year ago where he played alongside plenty of talent who’ve gone on to make their debuts. Xavier Savage, Reece Walsh, Sam Walker and Selwyn Cobbo all donned maroon with him. That’s enough young talent to get Queenslanders wetting their pants with excitement.

Showing he’s a born winner, his first season down in Canberra was during COVID and despite the switch from playing juniors to open age footy, his Raiders U20 side beat the local men of the first grade competition.

In May last season he was a big reason the Raiders won the Jersey Flegg Competition. He scored six tries over the season but the highlights of him running over boys like he was an over enthusiastic dad at junior footy training were a sight to behold.

He played three games in NSW Cup for the Raiders last season and despite only averaging 47 minutes a game he had some good carry’s and maintained a 95% tackle efficiency.

The smile is infectious. You can see him smack in the middle of first grade training this preseason. Always smiling. Always laughing.

His team mates call him a pest. Biggest pest I’ve ever seen.

So keep an eye on this one. I think he’ll ply most of his trade in NSW Cup but am confident we’ll see a first grade debt in 2022.

Let’s hope it’s the first of many in green.

This guy is going to get the fans really, really excited.


  1. Esera is a real deal and first up has a face of a Raider, I see once and know he is our next big thing after big Mal, or Cement big Glen Lazarus. Sign him for a NRL contract and groom him.


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