Raiders not buying into 'easy' run home
Refreshed Raiders halfback Sam Williams denied his club have an easy run home to potentially play finals football, despite playing eight of their final nine games of the regular season against teams not currently in the top eight.
Bar their trip to Townsville to face the Cowboys in Round 21, the Raiders' opponents to see out their regular season will come against teams in the bottom half of the Telstra Premiership ladder.
Throw in the fact that five of their last nine games are at GIO Stadium, with only further trips to Penrith, Parramatta and the Gold Coast to be wary of, all is seemingly aligning in the nation's capital.
However, Williams believes the congested nature of the table means the Raiders aren't looking into such matters while also alluding to the Green Machine's poor 1-6 record in Canberra in 2015.
"I'm sure it's something a lot of people on the outside look at, but you have to remember how tight the draw is and how close the competition is," Williams told NRL.com.
"Those sides who aren't in the top eight at the moment could make four or five spots by the time we get to them.
"It's not really something which is overly beneficial. If the competition was really separated and the top eight was a long way from the bottom, like the English Premier League for example, it might help a little more but the way the NRL is it doesn't make much difference."
Not content with just being in touch with the top eight, the Raiders are looking to get their season back on track against the Newcastle Knights.
With just two games and two byes breaking up the last time they faced the Knights, the Raiders' 44-22 win over Newcastle in Round 13 is the only time they have won in their past six games.
Labelled as a vital win in the context of their season back then, another win over the Knights will mean even more for Ricky Stuart's men especially since nothing has changed in the past month according to Williams.
"We need to really make sure we play well. We haven't been performing as well as we probably would've liked at home, although we have been close we haven't managed to get the points," Williams said.
"[Newcastle's] a big game for us and we need to win it. We're not far off the top eight but really just being in touch with the top eight is not something we're happy with or something we want to settle on.
"We'd rather be entrenched in the top eight and making things a little bit easier on ourselves.
"We're in a position now we need to get back on track and a couple of wins will put us right back in the mix."