Paulo settling into Raiders impact player role
Canberra Raiders wrecking ball Junior Paulo is happy to continue starting off the bench in the side's new-look one-two punch with fellow prop Shannon Boyd.
Paulo has made the shift back to the interchange early this season in a bid to allow the Raiders to keep up the pressure in the middle third of the field either side of half-time.
Averaging 8.6 metres per run, Paulo said the change was made after opposition teams were able to relax when both he and Boyd were off the field in 2017.
"I'm doing my job for the team and we found out that having me and Boydy on at the same time we were losing that impact when the bench came on," Paulo said.
"So, it's good to have a rotation there with a big body, I'll play a few minutes to start the second half and then Boydy will come on and finish the game.
"It's been really working well for us, now we just have to tidy up those loose areas, so we can finish off some games."
Despite a number of injury concerns and starting 0-2, the Canberra players have continued to trumpet the season's mantra of "team first".
Match: Raiders vs Warriors
Venue: GIO Stadium
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Paulo said he would be even happier to continue his new role if it leads to their first win of the season when they clash with the New Zealand Warriors at GIO Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
"Anybody playing first grade wants to be starting, but we've got a team-first mentality here at the Raiders so I'm happy to my job and if that means providing some impact off the bench, it's not changing anything," he said.
The Warriors have raised the collective eyebrows of fans and other teams in the Telstra Premiership. It hasn’t just been the two wins from as many starts, but the way in which they have been playing which has been impressive.
The strike power in the side was never more apparent than in their 20-8 win over the Gold Coast Titans in round two. They had just 43% of the possession and completed 69% of their sets in that time, but still managed to score four tries to one.
The Warriors' flamboyance helped paved the way to the victory, racking up a massive 28 offloads.
"I think it will be one of the areas we'll have work on with guys like Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Issac Luke hanging around the ruck and they can score tries from anywhere on the park and it's going to be a big focus for us in the middle and helping our outside backs," Paulo said.
"Stopping their momentum (is important), they've got a lot of big outside back that really cart the ball back well off kick returns.
"They're really played a fast, ad-lib style of footy in the last couple of weeks so we've hit them with our shoulders and stop that momentum."