Junior Reps Round 6 Preview: Raiders v Magpies
Friday 15 March 2013 11:20 AM
Harold Matthews Cup (Under 16s)
Canberra Raiders v Western Suburbs Magpies on Saturday at 1:00pm at Campbelltown Stadium
The Canberra Raiders Harold Matthews will aim to continue their climb up the competition ladder with their fourth win in a row against the Western Suburbs Magpies this Saturday at Campbelltown Stadium.
Winning their fourth game in a row won’t be an easy feat by any means though with Canberra coming up against the undefeated Magpies.
The Magpies are the third best attacking team in the competition and boast several of the best players in the under 16 age group.
For those reasons, Raiders Co-Coach Adam Kyle believes that this contest will be Canberra’s biggest test yet.
“Oh for sure, this is definitely our biggest test of the year,” said Kyle.
“We played against them in a trial earlier in the season and on that day we had a good chance to see what they were like. They had a massive team all over the park and their halves are pretty skilful and will guide them around.
“For them to be undefeated at this stage in the year is a great achievement we will need to be at our beat on Saturday to compete.”
Central to the Raiders game plan this weekend will be the kicking game of Nick Cotric. The talented fullback will look to tire the big Western Suburbs forwards by kicking early in the tackle count and continuously turning them around.
“Nick has had a really good season,” enthused Kyle.
“He’s kicked two 40/20’s so far which is amazing for a kid who is only 14. We will be hoping for a big game from him on Saturday but we also have great players across the park who can fill Nick’s role if he is not available.”
Boosting the Raiders chances is the improvement in confidence that has been derived from not only winning their last three encounters, but of the development of each player individually both in game situations and at training.
Whilst the long trip to and from Newcastle last week has disrupted preparation to a degree, Kyle is still confident heading into their biggest game of the year so far.
“The boys are now understanding more about the game in regards to completing sets, getting into the arm wrestle and more efficient tackling techniques. It’s a massive change from playing local junior footy and it’s been good to see their improvements each week.
“The boys have been a bit tired this week though from the 12 hour travel last week but we have tried to manage their work load to ensure we are best prepared for tomorrow.
“We always ensure we look after ourselves and get in the best possible position to play and as a group we have said if we prepare well enough then we will be able to compete against any team.”
SG Ball Cup (Under 18s)
Canberra Raiders v Western Suburbs Magpies on Saturday at 2:30pm at Campbelltown Stadium
After a disrupted opening to the season punctuated by injuries to key players, the Canberra Raiders SG Ball side broke their recent losing streak with a fantastic win over the Newcastle Knights this weekend.
With semi-finals still a realistic goal, the Raiders will look to topple the 13th placed Western Suburbs Magpies on Saturday afternoon to continue to progress up the competition ladder.
“We need to try to build some momentum on the back of last week’s win,” said Coach Peter Marrapodi.
“We are still looking to put together a complete performance so that is what is motivating us this weekend.
“We have had a disruptive start to the season with a number of injuries in key positions. In the last two weeks our line-up has been settled, so I am hoping we can start to build on the attacking combinations and structures we have in place.
“The mood is a bit happier this week after breaking the losing streak, but it doesn’t change much for us, we still need to win this week to stay in touch with the top eight.
“We are now into the back half of the season and the teams that are successful in this competition traditionally start to string together wins over these next few weeks.”
Marrapodi believes that the key to defeating the talented, yet unpredictable Magpies outfit is to stick to the side’s structures. Marrapodi has drilled into his side the pitfalls if the Raiders fall into a game of unstructured, adlib Rugby League with the Magpies.
“Wests have a number of very talented individuals that are very good at playing unstructured footy,” explained Marrapodi.
“If we give them opportunities in attacking positions we will struggle and we need to stick to our set structures.”
Marrapodi is anticipating a strong game from winger Lachlan Hurst who returns to the starting side this Saturday.
“Our winger Lachlan Hurst returns to the side in place of Tom Cronan and he has been really excited about getting another opportunity.
“I’m expecting a big game from him along with our two second rowers, Tevita Pangai and Jarrod McIllwrick, who have been in good form and I expect them to continue that this weekend.”
The Raiders are sitting just two points out of the top eight and a win here will see them possibly sneak into the top eight or at the very least keep in touch with the race to the finals.