Canberra's Kiwi test of character
Raiders utility Josh McCrone has declared his side's trip across the ditch to take on the Warriors this Saturday as the perfect opportunity to prove its character after their last start 54-18 thrashing at the hands of Manly.
The Raiders found themselves staring down a series of unwanted records as a red-hot Sea eagles side rattled up seven first half tries and a 42-4 lead at half-time before the Raiders were able to stem the flow of points. Despite the late signs of life, the heavy loss has left Ricky Stuart's side languishing in 14th place as the NRL reconvenes following the break for the rep weekend.
McCrone, fresh from a third consecutive appearance for Country, said the Raiders are desperate to atone for the heavy loss to Manly with a strong showing against the Warriors at Eden Park.
"I think our character was tested and it didn't stand up against Manly," said McCrone.
"It was pretty embarrassing that score-line. It's nothing we want to hide from, we were there when it happened, but I suppose it's a chance to rebuild this character – to show that all that hard work we did try to build up over the pre-season isn't gone in one week.
"It's a big opportunity here to show people that we're still a tough team, and that mentally we're not weak like we were against Manly."
The Green Machine will have no shortage of motivation ahead of their Round 9 clash, as last year's late-season venture to the Shaky Isles resulted in a similarly embarrassing 50-16 score-line being registered against the visitors.
While admitting it would have been preferable to play the week immediately after their disappointing showing at Brookvale, McCrone said he hoped he and fellow Country representatives Jack Wighton and Paul Vaughan could spark the flagging Raiders with the confidence they gained from the thrilling 26-all draw with City on Sunday.
"I think it definitely boosts your confidence [playing representative football]. That's something that the boys that did play, especially me, have got to bring back to this team now," said McCrone.
"After our last performance we all need an injection of confidence, so it's up to us boys to bring that into the team."
Rangy second-rower Joel Edwards said the Raiders would have to be at their best to overcome a resurgent Warriors side that went into the break on the back of a hard fought 16-10 away win against Melbourne, the first of new coach and former Canberra halfback Andrew McFadden's tenure at the club.
"They're a quality side," said Edwards.
"After [former coach Matt Elliott] was sacked they've really lifted and they've been very impressive in the last couple of weeks.
"We're going to have to be on if we're going to be competitive and get the two points."