Raiders out to end Queensland woes
Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker is hoping for a case of third time lucky when Canberra head to the Gold Coast for their away clash with the Titans on Saturday.
The Green Machine have come up short on both visits to the sunshine state so far this season after narrowly going down to the Cowboys in golden point in Round 1, before succumbing to a late Jordan Kahu field goal against the Broncos in Brisbane three weeks later.
Since the Titans' inception in 2008, the Raiders have managed only three wins from nine appearances at Cbus Super Stadium and with two wins and three losses on the board to begin the year, Ricky Stuart's men are looking for back-to-back wins for the first time but know they'll face a Titans outfit that never gives up in games.
"We've had a couple of tough games up there to start the year off but we're not too concerned about that… it's nice to be heading up a day early [and prepare] before we get out there on Saturday," Croker said on Thursday.
"Whether they're full strength or not, they always tend to hang in there and are a tough side so we're expecting the same thing on Saturday night.
"We've spoken about worrying about us and we took that into last week's game [against Parramatta] about completing our sets and having a fair amount of the ball so we showed what we can do.
"Everyone wants to do it and our record doesn't look great [to start the year] because of those two tight losses so it's a big game for us and we want to string a few [wins] together."
While the Raiders are at full strength, the luckless Titans have again been forced to make changes with Tyrone Roberts (knee) expected to miss the game with his cousin Tyronne Roberts-Davis to start at fullback.
Halves pairing Ash Taylor and Kane Elgey are beginning to benefit after stringing five games together and Croker believes they're the key to the home side's fortunes.
"They're both really good halves and it's good to see them both back playing footy and stringing some games together," Croker said.
"They're a very dangerous pairing so our boys are going to have to be pretty good around the ruck because they played well there against the Warriors last week."
The Country Origin representative also threw support behind English international Josh Hodgson and said some of the criticism the No.9's early-season form was unwarranted.
"I think he's a bit hard on himself, Hodgo (Hodgson)," Croker said.
"He always is… he's his own harshest critic but he's been great and I thought he did a tremendous job at the start of the season filling in [as captain] while I was injured as well.
"I thought he was really good last week and the more games he, Aidan Sezer, Austo (Blake Austin) and Jack [Wighton] can play together, the better we're going to be.
"It's good to know he wants to get better and I talked to him after the game about how tough and courageous he was because he had a bit of a knock and injury there last week.
"He was actually quite crook after the game too so while we just expect that from him, it certainly didn't go unnoticed to me."