Matt Timoko believes that the Raiders inexperienced backline will be up for the challenge this Saturday night, with the centre confident that his teammates are prepared and excited for their contest against the high-flying Brisbane Broncos.
The young core of the backline has played a major role in the side’s recent success, with the likes of Xavier Savage, Sebastian Kris and Timoko starting.
Their performances have brought X-factor to the Green Machine, proving to be must watch whenever they touch the ball.
Alongside these young guns often comes an experienced head to mentor them, with Jordan Rapana currently filling that role. His nearly 200 games of NRL experience have left him in good stead to nurture the next generation.
Unfortunately, Rapana will miss this weekend’s match through suspension, however this gives yet another NRL prospect a chance to shine on the biggest stage. James Schiller has been handed a starting spot on the wing, creating a back five with a maximum age of 23.
Whilst Timoko believes that Rapana will certainly be a loss this weekend, he feels that Schiller is ready to fill the void left by the Raiders’ veteran.
“Rapa is a big loss because he is such an integral part of the team. He is one of the veterans who has been around for years now,” he said.
“Us young boys are looking forward to stepping up, I know Schills is ready to step up and I’m looking to step up in his place. I think we will be good this week.”
Schiller is likely to line up alongside Timoko, a partnership that has never been seen before in the NRL. For the young Kiwi, getting to play alongside him adds further to his excitement, with the whole backline enthusiastic about the inclusion.
“We are excited. It is always exciting getting one of the younger boys coming in,” he said.
“Obviously Schills has played a couple of games now, but I am excited to have him on my wing this week. I have trained a little bit with him over the preseason and honestly, I’m just looking forward to him getting out there.”
Timoko has been in good form himself in recent weeks, with last Sunday’s game against the Roosters being the perfect performance to capture the skillset and athleticism that he possesses.
After completing 18 tackles in a hard-fought defensive effort, Timoko was able to seal a deserved Canberra win with a moment of magic.
The centre got on the outside of counterpart Paul Momirovski, never looking back as he breezed past the Roosters defence to score his fifth try of the season and secure an important two points.
Timoko eases past Momirovski
His form will need to continue in Round 14, with Timoko scheduled to face off against fellow young gun Herbie Farnworth on Saturday night. The centre is prepared for the challenge, knowing the task that lies ahead of him.
“He is a bit of a tricky fella, quite good with his footwork,” Timoko said.
“He is quite strong as well with a big body. I am looking forward to the challenge. We just need to work together as a team.”
It isn’t just Farnworth that the Raiders will need to look out for this weekend, with many of the Broncos’ squad finding some serious form over their current six game winning streak.
With Brisbane fresh off a bye and in front of a big home crowd, Timoko and the whole team understands the challenges that the contest holds and are ready for another difficult fixture.
“I think we can come in with a mentality that we need to put them through the grind. That is a big focus this week, staying in that grind and not giving away silly errors,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to it.”