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Robinson: Roosters ready for 'conservative' Raiders

Trent Robinson says the Roosters are totally prepared for whatever the "conservative" Raiders throw up in Sunday's blockbuster top-four duel.

While Canberra boast the second-best defensive record in the league this season, coach Robinson declared Ricky Stuart's troops can be predictable with the ball.

That's despite the Raiders ranking third for points scored (22.8 points per game), lagging only slightly behind the Roosters (26.1).

"They've been playing some good footy but we sort of know what they do – they're quite conservative," Robinson said.

"We know how we want to defend that and how we want to go after them there. Then we also know our style of play and what we want to stick to. So I think us delivering on that tomorrow is going to be an exciting opportunity."

Raiders v Roosters - Round 21

And Robinson certainly doesn't consider GIO Stadium a fortress for the Green Machine.

"They've lost a few games there this year. I don't think it's any more challenging than any other team," he said.

"We're excited by where both teams sit. We obviously know the performances they've had. We're getting into our groove and we want to improve on some things."

After three consecutive wins against sides outside the top eight, the Roosters significantly go up in class versus the steely Raiders.

Hulking Canberra centre Joey Leilua is set to make a remarkable comeback from a neck injury, while Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves returns following a one-match suspension.

"Jared's an important part of our pack and has been for close to a decade now. He's a very important player for us and we're looking forward to getting him back in there and getting him rolling," Robinson said.

The inclusion of Waerea-Hargreaves is much-needed for the Roosters given captain Boyd Cordner and leading front-rower Siosiua Taukeiaho are out with calf strains. 

"They haven't started running on the field yet but both Siua and Boyd are in good shape. So they'll be pushing next week," Robinson said.

Snow fell during Friday night's AFL fixture in the nation's capital and freezing temperatures are tipped for the Raiders-Roosters match.

But whatever the weather, Robinson expects the Tricolours to play the same way.

"I don't think weather's ever dictated performance – or it won't be dictating ours," Robinson said. "Obviously we've seen the conditions down there and we look forward to playing footy."

Robinson is accustomed to seeing rugby league played in sleet and snow, having coached Catalans Dragons for two years in the UK Super League before joining the Roosters in 2013.

"It makes it more exciting, to be honest," he said. "I've done a lot overseas and played and coached in all different conditions, and the thing that matters is how you play and the attitude that you take to performing."

Canberra and the Roosters have met once already in 2019, Robinson's charges holding on for a 30-24 victory in Magic Round.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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