Topic: NYC Match Preview: Raiders vs Warriors  

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NYC Match Preview: Raiders vs Warriors
« on: July 31, 2011, 09:04:59 AM »
NYC Match Preview: Raiders vs Warriors

Life doesn’t get any easier for the Canberra Raiders Toyota Cup side.
The team has been decimated through injuries and first grade promotions and this has significantly contributed to a loss of form and confidence within the team, having now slumped to eleventh on the ladder.

To make matters worse they will travel across the Tasman this Sunday to compete against the benchmark in the Toyota Cup, the New Zealand Warriors.

The Warriors are top of the table, and for good reason. They are last year’s defending premiers, beating the South Sydney Rabbitohs 42-28, and have retained a strong nucleus of that squad.

That experience, along with the finest up and coming prospects in junior Kiwi rugby league have lead to the New Zealanders dominating the competition in both offence and defence. They have the scored the most points (649) and conceded the less (364) of any side.

This has lead to the Warriors only losing three matches all year; however Coach David Hamilton and his side will be looking to make it four after some serious soul searching and several notable changes their line up.

“We’re definitely underdogs and we’re going to have to be pretty good to stop them but we’ll find out how mentally strong we are and if we deserve to go any further in this competition.” Hamilton said.

“We need to take a leaf out of there book. They complete their sets and when they get down to your end then they have a crack at you. They do the simple things well and don’t panic. That’s why their winning games of footy.”

The most notable team change is reverting Jack Wighton from five-eighth to centre.

“We had to do something to spark it up. The idea is to try and get Jack some quality football really and not have him worry about setting up play. He’s a great attacking player.”

One position that will remain the same though is Nathan Massey’s at fullback.

The clash of the two opposing fullbacks will be a highlight of the contest and will play a considerable role in determining the outcome.

Warrior’s fullback Omar Slaimankhel was on the wing in last year’s grand final win and has come on in leaps and bounds this year.

He is the Toyota Cup’s leading try scorer with twenty one tries and is also second on the list in line breaks behind team mate Konrad Hurrell.
“He’s a quality player and someone we’re going to have to watch,” Hamilton said. “He’s elusive, he’s hard and he’s fast and playing off the back of some of their big boys with their offloads he’s going to be a real danger for us.”

Massey has proven he has a bright future ahead of him in his six first grade matches this year and will be more than adept at handling the challenge from Slaimankhel. In the Toyota Cup arena, Massey averages 112 metres a match and six tackle breaks a game with his deadly running game as well as amassing ten try assists with his underrated kicking and passing.

Hamilton will be looking for Massey to use his experience and attacking prowess to lift his side for the clash with the Warriors.

“It’ll be a good match-up between those two. They’re a bit casual defensively; some of those big boys leave big spaces in the defensive line at times and that’s where ‘Mase’ will hurt them. He could cause some real headaches for them.”

Whilst the two talented custodians will rarely come into direct contact, their individual attacking brilliance will impact greatly on their respective sides as the young Raiders look to keep their finals ambitions alive.

The match kicks off on Sunday at 11:45am at Mt Smart Stadium.