Raiders halves credit coach Stuart
Canberra's new halves pairing of Mitch Cornish and Blake Austin have thanked coach Ricky Stuart for their early-season form after an impressive first showing in the Raiders 24-20 win over the Sharks.
Cornish, who was given first crack at the starting halfback position for round one after a pre-season battle with Sam Williams, had a composed match for the Raiders and credited his coach for his combination with Austin.
"Ricky has been massive for us," Cornish told NRL.com.
"He's one of the best halfbacks to have ever run around so everything he says we take in and learn from him."
Coming up against another new halves pairing in Jeff Robson and Ben Barba in round one, the Green Machine halves seemed to complement each other's games more effectively than their Sharks opponents.
"Blake's a really good instinctive player and I just try to guide us around the park and pass it back and watch what Blake brings and that seems to be working alright at the moment," Cornish said.
Meanwhile Austin, who signed with the Raiders after a breakout season with the Tigers last year, was also feeling good about his new halves partner.
"I thought Mitchy's talk was really good," Austin, 24, said.
"This was only our second game together because we only had the one trial but I thought our talk was good and I think the other boys all had a lot of clarity from our balls.
"This is just a starting block for us."
Austin was also happy with the performance of new English hooker Josh Hodgson who managed 54 minutes in his first NRL game.
"Yeah he was impressive, he pumped out some pretty good minutes," Austin said.
"I thought he got through really well and hung in there and his service was very crisp."
The Raiders committed 11 errors in their opening round win however there were a lot of good signs heading into this weekend's clash with the Warriors.
"Obviously first game everyone is going to be a little bit rusty but we worked really hard over the pre-season playing with different combinations," Cornish said.
An especially positive sign was the desperation shown by some outside backs to stop near-certain tries, in particular Jack Wighton's late-game effort on Mitch Brown.
"That's just the type of blokes that they are," Cornish said of his outside backs.
"They have individual accountability.
"That's just an attitude thing - they don't have to pull off those try savers but they do it for the team and put their body on the line and you can't ask for anything more than that."
Asked about the feeling around the team after a good first-round win, the 22-year-old was glowing.
"Yeah we are very close as you can see, we've got each others back and these guys are just a really good group of blokes to be around."
The Raiders now take on the Warriors in Canberra on Sunday evening.