Raiders fear Shark attack
Raiders coach David Furner has warned his side not to underestimate a decimated Cronulla squad ahead of their crucial clash at Toyota Park tomorrow night.<br><br>The Sharks – already reeling from season-ending injuries to star players Ben Ross and Brett Kearney – lost Misi Taulapapa, Kade Snowden and captain Paul Gallen to suspension this week, throwing their finals hopes into disarray just four rounds into the season.<br><br>But Furner, whose side recorded their first win of the year against North Queensland last week, said Canberra could find themselves in trouble if they expect an easy time against last year’s finalists.<br><br>“They’re a very good side,” Furner told NRL.com. “If you look at their games, even though they haven’t been winning, they’ve always been in the contest. They’re very aggressive.<br><br>“Obviously there has been a lot of talk in the papers about who is missing and people are already writing them off but that can only be a motivational tool for them, to be honest.<br><br>“We know it’s going to be a tough game.<br><br>“The challenge for us is to go out there and match their enthusiasm and aggression so that we can be in the game.”<br>Furner said the loss of so many key players didn’t lessen the threats Cronulla’s remaining squad poses.<br><br>Despite the Sharks’ injury and judiciary woes, they can at least look forward to halves Trent Barrett and Brett Seymour partnering one another again for the first time since Round 1.<br><br>“Just look at their side,” Furner said. “They’ve got Anthony Tupou, Reni Maitua, Corey Hughes, Ben Pomeroy – they still have the strike there plus a quality halves pairing.<br><br>“Some people might be underestimating them – but we won’t be.”<br><br>The Raiders find themselves under pressure of their own this week, having won just one of their opening four games.<br><br>But having broken their duck against the Cowboys last week they have the chance to ensure their season is back on track with a win at Cronulla.<br><br>“We had been going fairly close in games before last week,” Furner said. “I thought we came away from the Parramatta game having been the better side and deserved to win.<br><br>“Unfortunately that’s not always the case and you need to make sure that you take the opportunities that present themselves in the game.<br><br>“We were confident going in against the Cowboys, we knew what we had to do and our forwards really got stuck in and did a great job.<br><br>“Having said that, it was a strong first half but we still need to work on how we finish games.<br><br>“It’s been our Achilles’ heel this season so it’s something we need to rectify this week.”<br><br>Furner said he was particularly pleased with the progress of five-eighth Terry Campese, who is in contention for a NSW jersey this season.<br><br>“He is such an important player for us,” he said. “He is improving all the time.<br><br>“He would be the first one to admit there are some areas he needs to keep working on in his game but as far as I’m concerned he just keeps getting better.”<br><br>Late news<br><br>- Melbourne forward Sika Manu is set to return from a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the past three weeks; and<br>- Titans veteran Preston Campbell could be a surprise inclusion in the Gold Coast squad to take on North Queensland after initially being ruled out with a calf injury. Halfback Scott Prince also returns after a two-week injury lay-off.