No Payne, no gain

The Raiders say stopping Aaron Payne is the key to defeating the Cowboys tonight at Canberra Stadium.<br><br>While Johnathan Thurston and Matt Bowen get most of the attention, in the media, it is the hard working and under-rated Payne who has caught the attention of a Raiders team still looking for their first win of the season.<br><br>Raiders captain Alan Tongue said there was no doubt that the crafty hooker plays a pivotal role for the Cowboys.<br><br>“Payne has got a lot of focus from us this week, there is certainly no underestimating him,” Tongue said.<br><br>“He is a guy that as soon as he gets some momentum from his forwards, he is testing you around the ruck and creating opportunities.<br><br>“We have talked a lot about the need to be switched on with him around the middle.<br><br>“I think they are a really well rounded team, they have the direction and the skill in their halves, hooker and fullback. &nbsp;<br><br>“They control the game very well and they have guys that can burn you and produce something out of nothing, so defensively we have to be on.<br><br>“You look at their forward pack and they are rated right up there, they get some of the quickest play the balls in the game, that is where Payne is really dangerous.<br><br>The Raiders have conceded 80 points in just three games and know they can’t try to outscore teams each week and expect to get the two competition points.<br><br>“Defensively we need a much improved performance,” he said.<br><br>“They have (Johnathan) Thurston, (Aaron) Payne, (Matt) Bowen those sort of guys can put points on at any stage from anywhere on the field.<br><br>“We are not far away from a win and we probably should have had one or two, but the way things have panned out we are on the bottom of the ladder.<br><br>“There will probably be a little more feeling in the game with the old coach returning and he knows our individual strength and weaknesses really well, so it is going to be a good test for us all.”<br><br>History points to a thrilling finish with six of the last eight contest between the two sides finishing by a margin of three points or less.<br><br><a href="http://www.nrl.com/Scores/TelstraPremiership/tabid/10240/default.aspx?roundid=773&amp;matchid=5355&amp;defaulttab=Preview">Click here</a> for all your match day information.