Raiders welcome bye after big fortnight

Following two games in the space of seven days where the Raiders had to make a total of 828 tackles, Canberra coach Ricky Stuart admits his side are looking forward to a week off.

Along with seven other teams the Raiders have a bye next week ahead of Origin III, and following draining defeats to the Cowboys and Warriors over the past two rounds, the bye comes at an ideal time.

After clocking up 409 tackles in the 21-20 loss to the Cowboys last week the Raiders were forced to make 419 – with 37 misses – against the rampant Kiwi side at Mt Smart Stadium.

 

"We have got another bye this week which is probably a good thing after how much energy we have had to expend over the last two weeks," Stuart said following the 30-8 loss to the Warriors on Saturday night.

"If you look at the stats it's probably enough defence in two games to do three and a half or four games.

"We will use the week smart this week and be ready to go the week after."

Despite completing at 82 percent – better than their opposition on the night – the Raiders struggled for field position against the Warriors, with lock Shaun Fensom citing a number of areas as the reason they were put under so much defensive pressure.

"It was massive the amount of possession the Warriors had there, we did well to keep them to what we did, especially in that first half," Fensom told NRL.com.

"I think we were only inside their 20 once in the first half and we got a try.

"The rest of the game they were bunkered down our end.

"We need to be smarter with the ball and get opportunities down in their end.

"It is probably multiple things; errors, poor offloads, not having good ends to sets.

"Our kicking game needs to be a bit better there, we just need to complete, get to our kicks and play teams down there end."

But the defensive workhorse said if he had it his way the Raiders would be playing next week, enabling them to make amends rather than stewing on back-to-back defeats.

"We only had a bye two weeks ago so we were pretty fresh, but we have had two tough games with a lot of defence," he said.

"It's a massive workload, but I wish we were playing again next week, just to make up for our effort out there today and get the ball rolling and a win under the belt."

The Raiders host the Knights in Round 18, with question marks hovering over the availability of Jordan Rapana, who left the game against the Warriors with an ankle injury.

Mid-season recruit Joey Leilua won't be available to face his former club either, as part of the terms involved in his release earlier this month.