CANBERRA RAIDERS V BRISBANE BRONCOS
SATURDAY MAY 30, 3.15PM, GIO STADIUM
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After an exciting last minute victory over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in Round 11, the Canberra Raiders will now head into a tough clash with the top of the table Brisbane Broncos at GIO Stadium on Saturday.
A last minute shuffle of the halves last week did not seem to have any impact on the side’s play with regular hooker Dylan McGrath playing very well filling in for injured Captain Lachlan Croker at halfback, and McGrath will again keep that position this weekend.
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The game last week also saw the return of last year’s top try scorer Lachlan Hurst who in his first game for the season made an immediate impact scoring one try and making several key runs down the left wing.
Hurst said that he was happy that he was able to force his way back into the side and that he is looking to reclaim his place in the side for the remainder of the year.
“I’m just happy to get the opportunity and hopefully I can stick around until the end of the season,” the Leeton Galloping Greens junior said.
While he was not being picked in the top 17, Hurst focused on the areas of his game that Coach Mick Mantelli said needed improvement, and was regularly one of the Tuggeranong Bushrangers’ best players in the local TTM Canberra Raiders Cup.
“Mick always said that there were a couple of issues with my defence so I’ve been trying to fix that up at training and I’ve been talking to Whitey (Assistant Coach Brett White) regularly,” Hurst said.
“I’ve also been working on trying to get as many metres as I can, especially getting involved and doing plenty of tough carries whilst I’ve been playing for the Bushies on the weekend.”
Against Canterbury, the Green Machine were almost their own worst enemies giving away sloppy penalties that gifted field position to the Bulldogs towards the end of the game which allowed them to get back into the game.
The amount of penalties conceded and unforced errors registered resulted in Coach Mantelli not being as happy as he could have been with the performance.
“He said it was a victory but he wasn’t as happy as he wanted to be,” Hurst said. “We knew that we should have been able to run away with the game after the first half [the Raiders led 20-10 at half-time].
“He said that we still have a fair bit to work on but once we get it all right and set we should be hard to beat.”
The main focus during the week at training was making sure that the side’s defensive structure was set up correctly heading into the tough clash with the Broncos, who are the best offensive team in the Holden Cup.
“We have been working on staying square and making good contact in the tackles,” Hurst said. “We have also be working on getting our shapes right so that if we need to go down the short side we make sure that we are ready.
“Basically, we just need to make sure that everybody knows their overall role in the side.”