David Shillington is expecting a tough initiation when he makes his club debut for the Raiders against Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Sports Stadium tonight.
Shillington is bracing himself for a barrage of defensive work with the Raiders missing three of their starting front rowers, with Troy Thompson (Achilles), Scott Logan (ankle) and Dane Tilse (ankle) all unavailable through injury.
“It might be a tough game for myself,” Shillington admitted.
“It’s not hard to think that Tim Sheens might try to target someone like myself early in the game, with the two other usual props out.
“Sheens is a good coach and I can imagine he would want to come through the middle of us knowing that we are missing those two guys.
“We only have one specialist prop left in myself and if I were a coach I would try to tire him out pretty early and take him out of the game and then run through the middle of us.
“So I am expecting a tough game, but I am lucky to have people like Josh Miller, Trevor Thurling and Alan Tongue around me who will do a great job to help me out.”
The Raiders have won three out of the last four clashes against Wests Tigers but will be looking to improve on their away form which saw them win just four games out of 13 in 2008.
“Talking to Terry Campese and Joel Monaghan, they said they got a lot of confidence out of last season.
“Hopefully we can get off to a good start this year and get confidence in ourselves, our game plan and in David Furner.
“Especially playing away, I think it is really important to get a good performance in. The Raiders last year put double the amount of points on teams at home but rarely won away.
“So playing away from home first up might give us a good a chance to change that trend and set us up for the season.”