Following an after the siren loss in Newcastle. The Canberra Raiders NYC team returns to GIO Stadium for the first time this year, where the team will be looking to find some form against the Titans.
Both teams come into the match as one of the five teams without a win this year, and despite the Titans sitting on the bottom of the table. Raider’s coach Mick Mantelli was quick to squash any complacency the team may have had.
“We’ve got nothing to be complacent about, our form has been pretty ordinary at the moment. So I don’t understand why there would be any thought of complacency” he said.
It has been the older boys in the squad who have led the way for the young Raiders side this year, and Mantelli reserved praise for both his captains and a handful of senior players following the loss to Newcastle on Sunday.
“Luke Bateman and Tevita Pangai after coming back from not playing for a while were good in their first games for the year, Patrick Mago impressed again, and Rick Garard was good at the back”.
The team will have two debutants this week in Jake Wheeler and Ezra Howe. Both were late exclusions from the side last week and will be looking to make their debuts in front of a home crowd this week.
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Both are local products with Jake Wheeler impressing last year with Canberra Cup side the Woden Valley Rams. While Ezra Howe continues his progression with the club after playing for the Raider’s SG Ball side last year.
The Raiders will be looking to cut down on their errors and turnovers this week, with both being costly in the Raiders first two losses this season.
In both games this year the young side has shown a never say die attitude with two comebacks, but Mantelli said the side was left to rue their mistakes.
“They played some decent footy when they went behind, but it’s another one that got away from us. The boys know what they did wrong so they just got to let it go, once they fix the mistakes then they’ll be right and they’ll get wins”.
After two tough losses the Mantelli said the side is looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd.
“It’s been a tough couple of road trips which is disappointing, but hopefully we can redeem ourselves in front of a home crowd this week”.
An extended bench has been named with Scott Doyle looking to make his long awaited return from injury. Jamal Nchouki is another player who will be looking to break into the side this week to play his first match for the year. Nchouki is another local product, who was one of the Raider’s best forwards in the SG Ball side last year.