Raiders embrace Panthers road trip
Canberra players say they will take plenty of confidence out of a hard-fought away win over the Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium last week when they take on Penrith in Penrith on Saturday.
The Raiders traditionally aren't the NRL's greatest travellers – for example last year their away record was two wins and 10 losses, losing their first four road trips, compared to eight wins and four losses at home.
They actually won eight straight at home from the start of the season, a run that was only broken in Round 21 with a loss to Melbourne which triggered four straight home defeats.
With a tough start to the 2014 draw that featured four away games in the first five rounds, there was a very real danger Canberra would be miles on the back foot before their draw balanced out in the middle of the season if they couldn't find a way to earn some wins away from the nation's capital.
After a month of football they are well in touch and are just a fraction outide the top eight on points differential having beaten Souths and Newcastle away from home.
"Yeah it is encouraging [to have won away from home] but we're not looking at past records or any stuff like that," Canberra centre Jarrod Croker told NRL.com after the win over Souths.
"We've just got to take that same attitude, whether it's Canberra Stadium or Townsville, we've got to take that same attitude every week. If we can keep showing up every week like that we'll be going well."
The attitude he was referring to was an impressive lift in intensity following match-ending injuries to Shaun Fensom (elbow) in the 32nd minute and Joel Edwards (concussion) in the 48th, particularly from the remaining forwards, to repel a South Sydney fightback and hang on to win when the Rabbitohs looked like surging over the top of the Green Machine.
"They lifted well, big Boydy [Shannon Boyd]... they all played pretty well. Whitey [Brett White] lifted there in the second half. Shillo [Dave Shillington]'s first two games back from injury have been great, he's really getting stuck in. To cover those two boys we lost, especially in pretty warm conditions, I thought the big boys did well for us."
Croker also said the playmaking combinations and kicking game had taken an encouraging step forward.
"I thought our kicking game was really good... to contain someone like Greg Inglis as much as we could, I thought we did an all right job there," he said.
"Campo [Terry Campese] had one of his best kicking games, we all know how devastating that right foot of his can be. Jacko [Jack Wighton] obviously he didn't get a lot of kicks, we were kicking down that right edge a bit but they're working hard together and they're getting better by the week and they're only going to get better for us.
Prop Brett White said it was great the way the players hung in throughout a challenging second half.
"We've been close the last few weeks, we've been disappointed with a couple of games. [Against Souths] we probably got the reward for the hard work we've been putting in," White told NRL.com.
"The boys were really committed to where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do this year... we definitely got that reward."
Looking ahead to Penrith, White said they were a good side coming off a disappointing loss at Parramatta.
"We've probably got them at a tough time as well. We've just got to keep working hard and stick to what we're doing," he added.