This week the Canberra Raiders NYC team travels to the Gold Coast to take on the struggling Titans team, and keep their slim finals chances alive.
Canberra should be fresh coming off a bye, but in the week previous to that the side was mauled by an impressive West Tigers outfit. The Raiders have struggled this year when going on the road winning just two of their eight matches when travelling this season.
Despite their poor road record coach Mick Mantelli isn’t going to change the way the team prepared for their away games, with Mantelli reiterating that the most important part of this season is to prepare top level players for the Raiders.
“No we won’t be changing anything, we can’t do much about the way we prepare for this week’s game. We’re training on Saturday morning and then flying up after that, as I’ve said earlier this year it’s not about winning and losing at this level. We’ve got to prepare these boys for first grade” he said.
They should head into the game with some confidence with the last game between the sides ending in a comprehensive victory for the young Raiders earlier this year at home.
Mantelli will continue to play Andrew Heffernan at fullback, Ricky Garard at hooker, and a halves combination of Lachlan Lewis and Matthew Frawley this week. When asked about the changes to the line-up Mantelli said it was all about preparing for the future.
“We’re looking to see where these guys can play and what positions they’re suited to and that’s what we do it for. It’s to see what positions these guys should be playing when they get to the NRL.”
The side will also be boosted by utility Jared McIlwrick returning from injury to start on the bench, and following an impressive debut Carney Doyle-Manga retains his spot on the bench.
Click here to see this week’s team
When asked about Doyle-Manga’s impact and aggression Mantelli said the team needed some size and a bit of aggression.
“We’ve lacked it (size) all year and probably the last two years we haven’t had it, so we’ve put him in there to try and combat some bigger teams in the competition. I thought he had a pretty good hit out for his first game.”
A win in this game will keep the Raiders hopes of a finals spot alive, but Mantelli said that ‘finals’ hasn’t been a discussion point amongst the team at all.
“I’d jump on it, if they were talking about it (finals) we just need to go out there and play consistent football and the results will speak for themselves.”
The match against the Gold Coast Titans will be played at Cbus Stadium on Sunday, with kick-off for the game at 11:45am AEST. This game will also be broadcast live on Foxsports 1 for all those Raider’s fans that can’t make it to the Gold Coast.