NYC Match Preview: Raiders v Sea Eagles
CANBERRA RAIDERS V MANLY SEA EAGLES
SUNDAY AUGUST 16, 11.45AM, GIO STADIUM
After suffering their two biggest losses of the season in consecutive weeks, the Canberra Raiders Holden Cup side was able to restore confidence within the side by bouncing back against the West Tigers in their most recent outing.
The 36-34 victory over the Tigers wasn’t pretty, but it did allow the Green Machine to escape their worrying form slide.
Raiders’ second rower Jack Williams was frank when asked about the previoud back-to-back embarrassments.
“We had a really bad couple of weeks leading into the last match,” Williams said. “To get the win against the Tigers was really good because it helps us move past the difficulty of the two big losses.”
Williams said that the positive attitude that Coach Mick Mantelli had was helpful in ensuring the player’s heads did not drop.
“He just tried to keep us positive,” the Cooma Colts junior said. “We worked on the areas that needed the work and he just kept us as a tight group.
“It showed on the weekend because we went out with a bit of confidence and we ended up getting the result that we wanted.”
The tough second rower was named Man of the Match against the Tigers but admitted that he had not been as consistent as he would have liked and that there was a lot of room for improvement in his game.
“I think I really need to work on my defence,” Williams said. “There are some small things in my defence that needed some work and had been letting me down a bit this year so that has been my focus.”
Following the last minute, two point win over the Tigers, the 5th placed Raiders will now be looking to build on this and try to cement their place in the top 8 when they come up against the 7th placed Manly Warringah Sea Eagles on Sunday at GIO Stadium.
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The contest with Manly will see two teams playing each other in similar situations as both are trying to build on their position in the top eight. Williams believes that this will lead to a tough and fast encounter.
“They will be coming out with great intensity because much like ourselves they are trying to secure their finals position,” Williams said. “They will be approaching this game with real enthusiasm because of the position they are in.”
Canberra will welcome back Captain Luke Bateman into the team after the Queensland Under 20’s representative finished serving his three week suspension.
The impact of another returning forward Tevita Pangai Junior last week had a great impact on the team they will be hoping that Bateman will be able to have a similar impact after both players missed the big losses through injury and suspension respectively.
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In the previous meeting between the two sides earlier in the year in Gosford the Green Machine fell to the Sea Eagles 36-22.
After leaking 176 points in their past three games, the Raiders will need to keep a close eye on sensational fullback Tom Trbojevic. The talented youngster, who has also played in a handful of NRL games, has registered 15 tries and 19 line breaks in just eight games in the Holden Cup as well as averaging 262 metres per game. One of Trbojevic’s 15 tries was in Manly’s 26-18 victory over South Sydney last weekend.
The clash between the Raiders and the Sea Eagles kicks off at 11:45am with the match being broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 with coverage starting from 11:30am.