Written by Jon Kroiter
The Mounties host Manly this weekend as they are aiming to record their fifth consecutive win.
A hard fought 24-16 victory against Wentworthville last weekend sent the Mounties to the top of the Intrust Super Premiership ladder, but Mounties Head Coach Steve Antonelli isn’t getting carried away.
“It’s good to be there [the top of the ladder]. At this stage of the season we’re just looking for improvement each week and to be the top of the ladder is a bit of a bonus,” said Antonelli.
Although Manly has had a difficult start to the season, they were impressive in last week’s win against Wyong, the only side to defeat the Mounties so far. In addition, Manly’s experienced forward pack including Feleti Mateo and Luke Burgess will provide the Mounties a stern test.
“Even though they are tenth on the ladder, their recent form…[means they are] one of the inform sides,” said Antonelli.
“I’m looking for a strong contest actually. Moving into the bye it's sort of like a four-point game for us.”
The Mounties coach was also pleased by the form of hooker Adam Clydsdale, whose first pre-season with the Raiders was delayed by a shoulder injury.
“He’s [Clydsdale] adding a new dimension to our team with him and Buttsy [Buttriss] both out there together,” said Antonelli.
“There is [a lot of creativity on the field] but I don’t try to make it too difficult. We just like to keep it pretty basic, especially in NSW Cup level. You don’t need to be too flamboyant. If you do all the little things right, nine times out of ten you’ll get a win.”
After giving away too many penalties and not completing enough of their sets against the Magpies, Antonelli said the message was clear to his players.
“At the moment, we’re only completing 65% [of our sets]. If you’re playing strong teams, it’s not enough to win.”
The Mounties v Manly game kicks off at 11:40am at GIO Stadium on Sunday and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Channel 501. Live updates from the match will also be on the Raiders Twitter @RaidersCanberra