NYC Match Preview: Raiders v Rabbitohs

The Canberra Raiders NYC team will be looking to continue their  form from the second half of last week’s game, as they travel to ANZ Stadium to take on a tough South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Canberra scored five tries to one in a dominant second half display, however the team had a slow start again on Sunday, and have trailed at half time in all three matches they have played this year.

Captain Patrick Mago said it all came down to the attitude of the boys, and it was something the side was trying to change.

“It’s all about coming into the game with the right attitude and being aggressive from the start of the game, it’s one of the key things for us if we want to get the two points this weekend”.

Coach Mick Mantelli has again named an extended bench for the match in Sydney, which sees spots in the side being highly competitive again this week.

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A few adjustments have been made to the side who defeated the Titans last week, with winger Rourke O’Sullivan earning his first start for the year, replacing the injured Jake Wheeler.

O’Sullivan is another talented Canberra junior, who has come up through the Raiders’ Harold Matthews and SG Ball squads. He adds some flexibility to the Raiders’ backline as he is capable of playing fullback, centre or wing.

Mitchell Barnett will also be welcomed back to the side this week, and Mago was quick to praise the two inclusions this week.

“O’Sullivan is tough and I like his aggressiveness when he runs the ball, he is also a smart player who can find space. Mitchy (Barnett) adds a lot to our forward pack, and the time that he is on I know he will do his job properly”.

Canberra’s second half against the Titans was an exhibition in attacking and exciting Rugby League, with halves Andrew Heffernan and Matt Frawley consistently toying with the Titans defensive line.

When asked whether it was a change in philosophy that led to a change in the way the team played late last week, with Mago saying it was all about living up to their potential.

“Our team knows what we are capable of doing, and our potential is much higher than what we showed in that first half. Everybody knew what we were capable of doing and once we came out with the right attitude, we proved what we were able to do”.

The Raiders started the season losing two tough games on the road, Mago said that the side was looking to rectify their away record this week in Sydney.

“Two losses in a row on the road to start the season was unfortunate, obviously we’d like to win every game from here on out. We know what’s expected from the team each week, so if we put our head down and focus we will hopefully get the two points every week”.

Although he expects a hard Rabbitohs team to be looking to bounce back this week following a loss to the Tigers last week.

“They’re a good side, and last year we lost to them. Watching some of their game, they have good structure and they’re a strong side, and it’s not going to be a team we are going to take lightly. We know what we have to work on as a team to shut them down and get the two points”.