Canberra Raiders v Sydney Roosters on Saturday at 5:30pm at Allianz Stadium
Consistency will be the key agenda for the Canberra Raiders when they travel to Allianz Stadium on Saturday afternoon in search of back-to-back wins; a feat they have not yet accomplished in 2014.
After three consecutive losses, the Raiders returned to the winner’s circle last weekend with an emphatic 42-12 victory over the North Queensland Cowboys.
Whilst happy with the impressive win in front of their home fans, the side is not getting carried away by any means with the Green Machine facing a difficult task in Round 12 against the defending premiers, the Sydney Roosters.
“We’re really pleased to have got the win but we’re not getting carried away; we know that we really have to knuckle down and work hard,” said Paul Vaughan.
“The Rooster are one of the best sides in the competition and while they are looking to go back-to-back in premierships, we are looking to get back-to-back wins this year. They will be a big test for us.
“It all comes down to consistency. We haven’t had back-to-back wins so far this year so that’s something we really need to focus on. It’s still fairly early in the season and although there’s still a lot of hard work in front of us, we’re still really optimistic about the year ahead.
“You build character through those dark times but your true colours will show at the end of that period. Those tough times can actually bring a squad closer together and I think that’s happened and now that we’ve got that win under our belt, if we can get a bit of consistency together, we will be back on track.”
The Rooster, the best attacking side in the competition statistically, are coming off a strong 32-12 triumph over the Bulldogs last round and will prove a competitive adversary for the Raiders, particularly with dumped Origin halves Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney looking to prove their doubters wrong.
“They’re both quality players and individuals that we will have to watch carefully no matter who they are trying to prove wrong,” Captain Terry Campese said.
“Obviously they will be disappointed that they aren’t playing for NSW and will be fired up to prove the selectors wrong, but that is not something that concerns us, we need to turn up to play with the right attitude regardless.
“If we turn up with the right attitude and play to our potential we can beat anybody.”
Both sides will have players backing up for Origin with Josh Papalii selected to start in the second row for the Raiders whilst the Roosters trio of Aiden Guerra, Michael Jennings and Daniel Tupou are all due to play for the Bondi based side.
Terry Campese v James Maloney
Campese and Maloney have come under heavy fire from several of the games ‘experts’ this year but both pivots have handled the criticism with dignified class, with the Raiders Captain registering his best performance of the year against the Cowboys.
As eluded to earlier, Maloney will be out to prove a point after being dropped by NSW Blues Coach Laurie Daley.
Maloney has proven to be a ball-player of high quality however it is his support play, particularly off a Sonny Bill Williams offload that needs to be carefully monitored.
Whilst Campese’s kicking and passing skills have been exemplarily in 2014, the former Test pivot reignited his running game against the Cowboys, engineering a try for Jarrad Kennedy in the process. He will need to continue this trait on Saturday to test the sturdy Roosters’ defensive structure.
Sami Sauiluma v Roger Tuivasa-Scheck
Sauiluma had his best game of the season against the Cowboys, running for 177 metres and breaking through four would-be tackle attempts.
His impressive performance should give the young blockbusting winger a mountain of confidence, something he will need when he faces New Zealand international Roger Tuivasa-Scheck.
The Roosters flyer possesses prodigious footwork and will prove to be a big test for Sauiluma but one that the Woden Valley Rams junior is supremely capable of handling.
Brett White v Jared Warea-Hargreaves
Both White and Warea-Hargraves are arguably the leaders of their respective forward packs, with the pair’s actions on the field inspiring their fellow forwards to go to the next level.
The pair has represented the game on the international stage and are as fiery as they come. Warea-Hargreaves has a habit of targeting an opposition front-rower during a game as highlighted by his ferocious dual with young Bulldogs bookend David Klemmer.
If Warea-Hargreaves is to target White, expect the former NSW and Australian representative to leave no stone unturned in his confrontation with the New Zealand enforcer.
Last 3 results:
- Roosters defeated the Raiders 28-22 at Allianz Stadium in Round 22 2013
- Raiders defeated the Roosters 24-22 at GIO Stadium Canberra in Round 5 2013
- Raiders defeated the Roosters 24-20 at GIO Stadium Canberra in Round 24 2012
Record against the Roosters:
In a total of 55 games against the Roosters, the Raiders have registered 25 wins and 30 losses.
Raiders record at Allianz Stadium:
In a total of 19 games played at Allianz Stadium, the Raiders have won just 4 games and lost on 15 occasions.
They said it:
Anthony Milford: “I owe a lot to this club and the boys that I run out with each week. I’m moving next year but right now I’m focused on putting in a performance each week which proves that I’m 100% committed to the club, to my team mate and to our great fans.”
Jarrad Kennedy: “We really need those two points and now we need to concentrate on continuing to move forward to get our season back on track. We’ve still got plenty to improve on ”
Mitch Cornish: “It’s great to finally get a taste of first grade and even better to sing the team song. Hopefully I’m able to sing that team song many more times this year.”
Paul Vaughan: “You build character through those dark times but your true colours will show at the end of that period. Those tough times can actually bring a squad closer together and I think that’s happened and now that we’ve got that win under our belt, if we can get a bit of consistency together, we will be back on track.”