The Canberra Raiders will be looking to continue their recent dominating form when they take on Sydney Roosters this Sunday, a week after crushing the St George Dragons by 50 points.
The Holden Cup side had a disappointing outing against the New Zealand Warriors side two weeks ago, conceding 44 points and eventually losing 44-22. Yet last week they were able to turn it around with an emphatic 60-10 performance against the Dragons.
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Tevita Pangai Junior gave some insight into how they made such an incredible comeback.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work on our defence throughout the year and in the pre-season with our new defensive coach," Pangai Junior said. "We’re just trying to build a culture to defend our line and continue to make an effort for each other.
“It doesn’t have to be perfect but as long as we’re willing to work for each other, our defensive line should be a green wall.”
Tevita Pangai Junior earned last week’s Man of the Match with a performance consisting of two tries and continuously damaging runs against St George. Having spent the entire off-season training with the NRL squad and playing in the Auckland Nine’s competition, Pangai Junior attributes his success to improving on his defence during his time with the NRL squad.
“Frank-Paul Nuuausala and Iosia Soliola have been teaching me how important defence is and that’s what the Holden Cup squad struggles with. I’m trying to bring that culture down to the Holden Cup.”
Although the Roosters are 0-3 for the season, Tevita expects them to come out firing at home, on what is going to be a tough match on Sunday.
“They have a lot of talented players that I’ve played with in representative football," Pangai Junior said. "They are very hard to beat up there at Allianz, especially on a Sunday afternoon.”
Clearly with defence being the main focus point on his development, but also the team’s success, there is a strong belief within the NYC side that if they can put in another strong defensive effort, then the rewards will come against the Roosters.
“If we keep defending the way we did on the weekend, hold onto the footy and keep playing as a team we can go all the way.
“We won our first game against the Sharks up their so there won’t be any excuses travelling to Sydney this week. Hopefully we defend well because everyone can attack in the under 20’s; it’s that attitude towards our defence that we need to focus on.”