CANBERRA RAIDERS V WESTS TIGERS
MONDAY AUGUST 10, 4.45PM, GIO STADIUM
It’s certainly been a grim few weeks for the Canberra Raiders Holden Cup side with the side now looking to overcome back-to-back heavy defeats in a bid to consolidate their position in the top eight.
After narrowly defeating the Cronulla Sharks in tenacious effort in Round 19, the Raiders have since succumbed to two embarrassing annihilations that are most definitely not indicative of the talent and character of the team.
Firstly, the top of the table Penrith Panthers thrashed the Raiders 64-8, which was then followed by the second placed North Queensland Cowboys slaughtering the Green Machine 78-12 just last week.
Sure Canberra was issued with two difficult assignments coming up against the two most dominant outfits in the Holden Cup, and the team has been dealt several blows with injuries to key personnel, but Coach Mick Mantelli believes that there is no excuse for the flimsy defence that was portrayed over the past fortnight.
Particularly for a side that is situated at fifth place on the ladder and capable of defeating any team on their day.
The 152 points that were conceded in the past fortnight means that the Raiders have unfortunately let in the most points of any club in the competition. Incredibly though, the Green Machine is still a chance of securing a top four spot at the conclusion of the regular season.
That all starts this Monday evening though and the Raiders must ensure they use the embarrassment of the past two weeks to spur them onto victory.
Giving Canberra confidence leading into the clash is their past result earlier this year in Round 7 in which the Raiders defeated the eighth placed Tigers 40-32 and the fact that the match will be played at GIO Stadium where the team has a dominant 7-2 record.
In notable team changes, the Raiders welcome back the destructive services of lock Tevita Pangai Junior after the highly talented youngster recovered from his knee injury.
CLICK HERE to see the NYC Team List.
Pangai Junior’s experience and obvious talent will provide a significant boost to the under-fire Raiders. In his 12 games this year Pangai Junior leads the competition in offloads with 59, has registered seven tries and eight line breaks, and averages 22 tackles and 155 metres per match.
For the Tigers, the Raiders will have to keep a close eye on hooker Jacob Liddle around the ruck area. Liddle leads the competition in terms of dummy half runs and will be highly dangerous if the Wests forward pack, led by Junior Kangaroos Captain Matthew Lodge, gets on a roll.
The other player who will need to be closely marked up on is athletic centre Obed Karwhin who scored a hat-trick over the Raiders back in Round 7.
CLICK HERE to read the NYC Match Report from the Round 7 victory.