The Canberra Raiders NYC team will this week travel to Brookvale Oval to take on the Sea Eagles, before a week long break is held throughout the Holden Cup competition.
Coach Mick Mantelli has named an unchanged line up from the one that defeated the Storm last week, but there were a few late changes last week from the side that was named on Tuesday.
Mitchell Barnett was a late exclusion from last week’s game with a hamstring injury, and won’t be back until the Raiders face the Warriors in two weeks’ time.
Sunday’s hero Jake Wheeler retains his place in the side after providing a solid display on the wing, Mantelli was happy Wheeler took his opportunity, but warned that performances like that shouldn’t be a one off.
“I keep telling the boys they need to take their opportunities, there are some young kids coming through and I’m sure they’re going to take any opportunities.”
CLICK HERE to see this week’s line up.
Jack Creith will miss again because of the ankle injury, but youngster Jared McIlwrick showed that he was more than up to the task last week. Showing a strong defensive work ethic and doing some good things in attack.
Last week was the best start to a game the Raiders have had all season, and it was the first time through the first seven rounds that they took a lead into half time.
A slow start after half time saw the side relinquish their lead, but Mantelli was happy his side was able to fight back, especially given the size difference between the two sides.
“I thought we needed to consolidate straight after half time, but we made some errors and they got some early tries. We probably gave away about 15kgs per man on that pack of theirs, so I knew that was going to take its toll on the boys, but the good thing is we stuck with them and came away with the win.”
The Raiders goal kicking efficiency has been troublesome in recent weeks, on Sunday the combination of Scott Doyle and Patrick Mago managed two goals from six attempts. Mantelli said it’s not something that he is too concerned with.
“You can’t really say much, they were striking them alright but they just weren’t going over, they know to spend a bit more time on it, and that’s all that can really be done.”
Canberra’s defence was vastly improved last week, and Mantelli has said in recent weeks that he wanted the side to stick together and the form would improve.
The 22 points the Raiders let in was their equal best defensive effort for the year, equalling their round 3 effort against the Titans. Canberra’s defensive display was highlighted by forward Jules Webley, who took every opportunity to make the Storm hurt.
This included a bone rattler of a tackle, which sparked his Raiders teammates around him. Mantelli said it was important to go on and improve the defence further.
“It was a pretty good hit, the important thing is to keep our heads and we’ve got another game this week, and it doesn’t mean much until we can start backing games up.”
Mantelli emphasised after the Storm game that if the boys work hard they will get what they are after, he re-iterated this point knowing the side has a week off after this week’s game and that it will be important to get a win.
“I said to the boys if they work hard we get next weekend off, it’s as simple as that.”
Canberra will be weary that Manly will be looking to shake its recent form slump, in which the Sea Eagles have won just one of their last five games. A Canberra win could see the Raiders jump back into the eight, and with such an even competition every win counts.
The match against Manly will be played this Sunday at Brookvale Oval with kick off at 11:45am.