Competition - NRL
Round - Round 02
Teams – Raiders v Roosters
Date – 12th of March 2016
Venue – GIO Stadium, Canberra ACT
Photographer – Mark Nolan
Description –

Paul Vaughan believes the side’s ability to win tight games will be vital as the Raiders look to play finals football for the first time since 2012.

The Raiders have had two nail-biting wins to open the 2016 season, and the Gungahlin Bulls junior acknowledged that they were both games that might have slipped through the side’s hands in the past.

“Last year if we had those tight games, we lost,” said Vaughan.

“It was good to finally finish those games nice and strong. That’s two in a row for us so hopefully we can continue that this weekend.

“It’s nice to get those close wins at home because they add up at the end of the year to try and make the finals. We obviously missed out by a couple of points last year, and to get those close wins, that’s what we need to do.”

The damaging forward ran for a staggering 168 metres in just forty minutes on Saturday, suggesting he is relishing his new role coming off the bench.

“With the boys getting off to a good start, it’s good to come off the bench and provide good impact for the boys. It’s a pretty important role, and if you can get it right, you’re pretty set,” said the hulking 24-year-old.

“It’s a big part of our game here in Canberra, because we’ve always had pretty strong forwards. We’ve got a lot of responsibility and we thrive off that as well.

“If we get the ball moving up the field pretty nicely then the backs can play off the back of that and that’s our best game plan.”

Jeff Lima has played a similar role so far this season, and Vaughan says the journeyman has had a significant impact on the club’s young forwards since arriving in the nation’s capital.

“Jeff is obviously a very experienced player, and he’s good for the young forwards. He provides a lot of impact and he gets through a lot of work with the amount of minutes he plays, so it’s good to play with a bloke like Jeff.”

Despite an unbeaten start to 2016, Vaughan insisted that the Raiders are not getting caught up in the hype of two straight wins ahead of this weekend’s trip to Newcastle.

“We’re treating it as a dangerous game. We’re not taking them lightly, and they always perform up there. They’re a proud club. It’s going to be a tough one for us, and we’re definitely not taking it easy.”

The two-time Country Origin representative will have a significant role to play on Saturday as the Raiders look to make it three on the trot.