The Canberra Raiders NYC team will be looking to overturn their first round loss to the Cowboys, when they meet at GIO Stadium on Sunday.
However it will be a vastly different side to the one that played in the loss in round 1 with Patrick Mago, Brenko Lee and Luke Bateman all playing for Souths Logan and Tevita Pangai Junior being elevated into this week’s Mounties side.
Coach Mick Mantelli said it was a great opportunity for some of the other boys to show what they could do.
“They’re moving up to a higher level, we’ve got some SG Ball boys who are moving up another level. It’s all about the development of these boys.”
Of the other changes the Raiders will be bolstered by the return of Jack Creith into the centres and Ricky Garard at full back. Jared McIlwrick moves into the back row to take Patrick Mago’s spot and youngster Thomas Cronan drops out of the side.
Click here to see this week’s team.
Ezra Howe also comes onto an extended bench as 18th man.
After a stellar debut game where he was named man of the match Lachlan Croker will again start on the bench, asked if there was any temptation to start him, Mantelli simply said he was happy with how the team was.
“I’m happy to have him in that impact role coming off the bench, so there was no hesitation to start him there again.”
Canberra will be confident going into the game with the Cowboys who are currently on a three game skid, which includes a 55-14 loss to the Roosters last week and two weeks prior a 64-4 thumping at the hands of the Eels, with both of those losses coming at home.
The last thing Canberra will be is arrogant, with the side wary of their performances when they show up less than prepared for a match. Canberra has already been defeated 54-0 and 42-12 this year, with Mantelli stating there was no place to be arrogant this week.
Impressive winger Lachlan Hurst has been one of the Raiders consistent performers all season, currently he has 10 tries to his name, and with a good performance against the Cowboys he could challenge for number one try scorer in the competition.
New halves combination of Matt Frawley and Lachlan Lewis will look to continue on from their strong performance last week.
Lewis’ ability to find teammates space was a massive difference in taking advantage of good field position last week, and Frawley’s kicking game led to a try to Hurst, and constantly left the Panthers on the back foot.
The match against the Cowboys will kick off at 12:45pm at GIO Stadium on Sunday.