Raiders keen to make early statement
They finished last season with a flurry and Raiders coach David Furner has issued a warning to the rest of the competition - the Green Machine is primed to start 2011 with a bang.
Furner says his youthful squad has learned a lot from playing finals football, and with the additions of experienced players Matt Orford and Brett White, he believes the Raiders are ready for a full-on assault of the 2011 Telstra Premiership.
“To mix with the side I had last year, not only to have the experience of semi-final football, but also have the experience of the players we recruited this year, I think we will have a good balance in the side,” Furner said.
“You are always going to have external pressure whether it is the individual or as a team, our main focus has always been Round 1 at home.”
The Raiders stormed into Premiership contention last year off the back of their mammoth forward pack and exciting youngsters Josh Dugan and Jarrod Croker.
And they are expecting their much-hyped pack to be fully tested in Round 1 when they take on the Sharks at Canberra Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
“Kade Snowden, Luke Douglas, [Anthony] Tupou, they have a very good pack led by a very consistent leader in Paul Gallen,” Furner said.
“There is no doubt it is going to be a big battle in the forwards, we know what type of game to expect.
“Both teams will want to start with a win, but its more about making a statement and, being at home, we need to reward the fans.
“In front of a big crowd we need to show everybody what 2011 is about.”
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