Shillington predicted Raiders resurgence
He will arrive at Canberra Stadium on Saturday as an outsider for the first time since Round 19, 2008 and Titans prop David Shillington is not surprised the Raiders occupy such a lofty position on the competition table.
One of only two teams yet to taste defeat in the 2016 Telstra Premiership through three rounds, the Raiders have shown remarkable resilience given they lost key playmakers Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer in the opening game of the season.
Only two teams scored more points than Canberra in 2015 yet they finished two wins outside of the top eight but Shillington saw enough to suggest that his former club were in for bigger and better things this season.
"With the squad they've got and the momentum they got from the end of last year, I knew they'd have a great year," said Shillington, who played 131 games for Canberra over seven seasons.
"I backed them to be a top four side and when those halves come back, give them a couple of games to get going again and Canberra are going to be a tough side to stop all year.
"They've had a great start to the year and I'm not surprised, they've got a great roster. Even with Sezer and Austin out they've stepped up and continued that winning form.
"Since Ricky [Stuart, Canberra coach] got there the last couple of years he's constructed the squad that he's wanted and it's a fantastic squad.
"They've got the players there – unfortunately a couple of injuries to their key players doesn't help – but as we've seen they're still quite capable without those players."
The Titans possess a 10-7 winning record against the Raiders and have won four of the past six meetings between the two clubs and the latest match-up has snuck up on the 32-year-old Shillington.
"It is a weird feeling; it's come around really quickly," said Shillington.
"We're only in Round 4 and we're already heading down to Canberra to play so it doesn't feel that long ago that I left the club to be honest.
"There has been a little bit of banter already. It started last week actually, couple of forwards there I'm looking to run over and they're saying that they're going to run over me.
"'Vaughany' [Paul Vaughan] told me that he's going to run a lot of metres on me and I said we'd send a lot of traffic down his way and he said we'd have to try and find him out on the wing somewhere.
"No doubt he'll be hiding out there."