Sutton playing key role in Raiders' resurgence

Ryan Sutton came to the Canberra Raiders to prove to those back home in England and league fans in Australia that he could match it with the best in the NRL.

After five weeks into the Telstra Premiership, there's little doubt the 23-year-old Ince Rose Bridge junior has what it takes.

Sutton was outstanding in the first 25 minutes of the Raiders' 19-0 win over Parramatta on Sunday, helping to provide the thrust through the middle third of the field that set up Canberra's third consecutive win.

The victory sees the Raiders in third place on the ladder and their early-season surge has been built off the best defensive start to a season since 1990 after five games, with just 44 points conceded.

"For 80 minutes, the boys did the little one percenters," Sutton said

"If we made an error on the back of that we knew we had to get back and be steady and I thought we did that very well against a good opposition, so I think the guys can only be praised after that."

Raiders lock Ryan Sutton.
Raiders lock Ryan Sutton. ©NRL Photos

Long having been known for having an imposing forward pack, the Raiders' smaller and more dynamic men in the middle showed against the Eels that have not lost any of their sting in attack.

From the first minute to the last, the men in green hunted as a pack and made any Parramatta player pay for a less than committed run, with several errors being forced by the strength of the Raiders' defence.

"As a starting pack we've got to start well if we don’t do that as a whole pack other teams will start rolling us," Sutton said.

"We've got to take it upon ourselves as the middle forward pack to set that platform and the bench will come on and take it to that next step.

"So, we're doing it really well at the moment, but we know we can't get too carried away because we've got a tough opposition."

The new Raider spoke of his admiration of Canberra veteran Sia Soliola and the energy lift he typically provided against Parramatta.

"Sia was outstanding," he said.

"He's an absolute trooper and he's someone I think a lot of people look up to, especially myself, he's an enforcer off the bench."

Sutton is set for an extended stint in the run-on side with Joe Tapine sidelined for several weeks.

The Kiwi international will have scans on Monday but Sutton is more worried about his teammate's health than how bad news might affect his playing time.

"All I'm concerned about is his welfare, he's a great part about this team and a really important player and if he is out for any length of time we'll miss him," Sutton said.

"I've been in that situation when you've had an injury and you're in your own mind and I feel for him.

"I went and saw how he was but it's important to give him his own space because he's going to need it this time.

"But we're a team here, I've come from Wigan and we've got a good team here, a good culture and all of the boys will get around him."

Despite the Raiders' red-hot start to the season, expectations are remaining grounded in the nation's capital, with Sutton knowing the Brisbane Broncos will arrive in Canberra with a point to prove.

"You only have to look at the team they've got, they've been unlucky, so we can't take it easy just because of their record," he said.

"We've got to come with the same mentality we have had the last few weeks and start well.

"If our forward pack is on from minute one we won't be far away (from winning) so we've just got to make sure we start well."