Warriors focus on Raiders' deadly duo
By the end of the week Matt Allwood and Jonathan Wright will probably be dreaming about Canberra's right edge, but they are OK with that if it means limiting their impact on the match this Saturday night.
Ahead of their match with Canberra in New Plymouth, Warriors left centre Allwood told NRL.com that in-form Raiders Jordan Rapana and Joseph Leilua had commanded plenty of attention in video analysis sessions this week.
"We have been doing our work on them all week and I am really looking forward to the challenge," he said.
"They have been really good and we just have to pull together as a team and do our best on them.
"I think we have just got to work together on defence. If we do that then I think we can stop anyone."
There is plenty of evidence to support the claim that Leilua and Rapana are the best centre and wing combination in the NRL Telstra Premiership right now, with the pair having racked up eight try assists and 11 tries already this year.
In addition to that Rapana leads the competition in line breaks with 14 in 10 appearances, while Leilua tops the offload category, averaging 3.7 per game.
Five-eighth Thomas Leuluai singled the pair out as the two most-dangerous players in the Canberra side, given they have a habit of creating scoring chances out of nothing.
"The ones that have impressed me are Leilua and Rapana, I think they have been really good," Leuluai said.
"I have actually enjoyed watching them play with some of the stuff they have come up with.
"Leilua has got a bit of skill too [as well as power] – he has got a great offload so you have to be on your game – and I think the main thing is that we need to expect everything.
"They step, they offload, they run side to side and they run backwards to run forwards, so the main thing is making sure we are alert and don't get surprised by any of their trick shots."
Meanwhile coach Andrew McFadden said Konrad Hurrell had featured in his thinking when considering who would fill the centre spot vacated by Solomone Kata's one-game suspension, but felt Allwood would be a more natural fit.
Hurrell is thought to be on the outer with the club, and continues to bide his time in the Warriors' Intrust Super Premiership side.
"We discussed him (Hurrell), but we felt that this was best for the team," McFadden said.
"Matt [is] playing left side, been in good form – he is probably in better form than Konrad – so that was the selection.
"[Matt] is the third-best form centre at the club at the moment, he has been given his selection through his form."
The Warriors have plenty of issues to deal with on the other side of the field as well, after Tyrone Peachey tore their right edge to threads on his way to a hat-trick in last week's 30-18 loss to the Panthers.