Round 20 NYC Preview: Raiders v Sharks
Wednesday 18 July 2012 1:32 PM
The third placed Canberra Raiders under 20s side travel to Toyota Stadium in Sydney’s south this Sunday afternoon to take on the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks.
The Raiders were dominant in their 34-14 defeat of the Gold Coast Titans last Sunday afternoon but coach Andrew Dunemann wasn’t entirely pleased with the performance and believes that his team must improve if they are to emerge victorious this week.
“We’ll need to be a lot better, if we play like we did against the Titans we won’t be winning that’s for sure,” Dunemann said.
Dunemann is particularly keen to see his team improve its execution in attack. Against the Titans last weekend the Raiders created a series of great scoring opportunities, making 12 line breaks throughout the game, however, a lack of composure saw them unfortunately bomb a number of certain tries.
“We definitely need to learn to take advantage of our chances and work on our execution when we’re in the open,” Dunemann said.
Lock Hayden Crockett is one player who is likely to play an integral role for the Green Machine this week. The Leeton product was once again a defensive powerhouse for the Green Machine against the Titans making more than 40 tackles for the game (For the fourth time this year). He was also quite strong in attack making 13 runs for 118 metres and registering one line break.
The Sharks currently sit 11th on the Toyota Cup competition ladder and have only registered one win in their last four starts , however, they are only one point behind the 8th placed Newcastle Knights and will be desperate to win in order to keep their playoff chances alive.
To ensure victory this week the Raiders should aim to contain Sharks prop Tyrone Viiga. Viiga has been one of the Sharks’ strongest performers this season having so far made 1600 metres in attack, 51 tackle breaks and nine line breaks. He is also the leading try scorer for the Sharks’ NYC side with seven touch downs.
Similarly, Dunemann believes his side should be wary of talented Sharks halfback Penani Manumalealii and hooker Michael Lichaa the latter of whom represented NSW in this year’s under 20s origin.
These teams have already met once this year, back in round eight at Canberra Stadium. That afternoon the Green Machine chalked up a resounding victory 54-12 but Dunemann isn’t expecting an easy game on the Sharks’ home turf.
“Everything’s changed since then [round 8], a lot of teams have improved and they’ll be desperate,” Dunemann said “If we don’t give them any respect we’re going to get beat… it’s going to be a tough one.”
The game kicks off at 11:45am and will televised live on Fox Sports 2