CANBERRA RAIDERS V PARRAMATTA EELS
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 6, 2.00PM, PIRTEK STADIUM
The Canberra Raiders Holden Cup side heads into this week’s clash with the Parramatta Eels at Pirtek Stadium knowing that that they must win to keep their season alive.
Last week the Raiders lost 38-8 to the second placed Penrith Panthers in their last home game of the season which has left the side in this precarious position.
Situated in 8th position on the ladder on 26 competition points, the Green Machine requires a win to assure themselves of a finals berth given that the Newcastle Knights and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs are both on 24 competition points.
To heighten the pressure, the Raiders possess a dismal for-and-against record of minus 191.
One of the constants of the side this season according to Cameron Booth has been ball control and that was really letting the side down early against Penrith on Monday night as the Panthers raced to a 32-0 half-time lead.
“Holding the ball and completing our sets was something that we failed to do in the early stages against the Panthers and they were able to run away with the game from there,” Booth said.
Whilst disappointed with their start to the game, Booth said that coach Mick Mantelli was happy with the showing in the second half from his team.
“Mick was happy that we really hung in there and put a lot of effort into the second half which was one of the positives to come out of the game,” said the powerful winger.
“It was just our execution, many missed tackles as well as some silly penalties that cost us in the end.”
Booth missed most of last year because of injury and has been happy that he had been able to stay a regular in the side in 2015.
“I have been pretty happy to be able to play some consistent footy after the injury issues I had last year,” the South Logan junior said. “I am just really happy to be out there playing with the boys again.”
In terms of Sunday’s match Booth is expecting a tough challenge from the 12th placed Parramatta side, who are coming off a 34-32 loss to the Cronulla Sharks.
“They are a big powerful side who are playing their last home game for the year. They will not make the finals so they will be looking to finish the season on a good note in front of their home fans,” Booth said.
“They have a really good hooker [Zach Dockar-Clay] who has been training with the NRL side and playing well in the last few weeks so we will have to look out for him.”
In team changes, Brett Soloman is back from suspension and replaces the injured Daniel Dole in the starting front-row, whilst there are also two changes on the bench with Jordan Aiono and Ezra Howe coming into the side for Connor Purcell and William Samuel.
CLICK HERE to see the NYC Team List.
Even if the side does fall this weekend there is still a chance of the Raiders can the finals if the results of the Bulldogs and Knights fall their way however it would be more beneficial for the team to move into the finals with momentum off the back of a win.
The crucial NYC game between the Raiders and the Eels at Pirtek Stadium starts at 11:45am coverage on Fox Sports 1 starting at 11:30am.